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Training peers to support older people with chronic low back pain following physiotherapy discharge: a feasibility study.

Cooper, Kay; Jehu, Llinos M.; Klein, Susan; Smith, Blair H.; Schofield, Patricia


Llinos M. Jehu

Susan Klein

Blair H. Smith

Patricia Schofield


Objective - To determine the feasibility and acceptability of a training programme for peer volunteers to support older adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP) following discharge from physiotherapy. Design - Feasibility study. Setting - Community-based. Participants - 17 adults (4 male, 13 female) with CLBP or experience of supporting someone with CLBP enrolled and 12 (2 male, 10 female) completed the volunteer training. Intervention - Volunteers took part in a face-to-face or blended delivery peer support training programme based on the Mental Health Foundation's Principles into Practice and adapted for CLBP by the study team. Main outcome measures - Recruitment/retention rates; demographics; time & resources used to deliver training; training evaluation (questionnaire); knowledge questionnaire, and self-efficacy questionnaire. Results - Seventeen participants enrolled on the training programme (11 face-to-face, 6 blended delivery). 12 (71%) completed the training (73% face-to-face, 67% blended delivery). The training was positively evaluated. All but 2 participants passed the knowledge quiz at the end of the training, and the majority of self-efficacy scores (90%) were high. Conclusions - It is feasible to develop, implement and evaluate a peer support training programme for the facilitation of CLBP self-management in older adults following discharge from physiotherapy. Blended delivery of training may facilitate the recruitment of greater numbers of peer support volunteers in future studies. Supported self-management of CLBP pain is widely recommended but can be difficult to achieve. Peer support might be a promising method of facilitating CLBP self-management without additional burden to health services, and should be further evaluated in a larger study.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 30, 2018
Journal Physiotherapy
Electronic ISSN 1873-1465
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 104
Issue 2
Pages 239-247
Institution Citation COOPER, K., JEHU, L.M., KLEIN, S., SMITH, B.H. and SCHOFIELD, P. 2018. Training peers to support older people with chronic low back pain following physiotherapy discharge: a feasibility study. Physiotherapy [online], 104(2), pages 239-247. Available from:
Keywords Peer support; Chronic low back pain; Self management; Older adults; Training programme


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