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PALS: peer support for community dwelling older people with chronic low back pain: a feasibility and acceptability study.

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


Patricia Schofield

Blair H. Smith

Susan Klein


Objectives: (i) examine the feasibility and acceptability of a peer support intervention (PALS) to facilitate self-management in community dwelling older adults with Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP), and (ii) examine the feasibility of study methods in order to inform the design of a future randomised controlled trial. Design: Mixed methods feasibility and acceptability study. Setting: Community. Participants: 18 older adults (aged 65-79) with CLBP and 6 peer support volunteers (PSVs) aged 34-65. Intervention: Six sessions of 1 to 3 hours duration, approximately 2 weeks apart, delivered in mutually convenient public places, or by telephone. Each session had a suggested topic and each participant and PSV had a PALS manual detailing aims and target outcomes for each session. Outcome measures: Recruitment, retention, integrity, acceptability and feasibility of the PALS intervention, feasibility of study processes, appropriateness and usefulness of outcome measures. Results: We recruited to target and retained 2/3 of participants. PALS was delivered as intended and acceptable to people with CLBP and PSVs. Most participants were satisfied with PALS and would recommend it to someone else with CLBP. Study processes worked well, but recruitment procedures need to be refined. Outcome measures were returned and were mostly complete, but further work on the most appropriate measures is required. Conclusions: PALS was feasible to deliver and acceptable to the older people and PSVs who took part in this study. We identified amendments to PALS and the study processes that, once implemented, will allow the effectiveness of PALS to be tested in a large-scale study.


COOPER, K., SCHOFIELD, P., SMITH, B.H. and KLEIN, S. 2020. PALS: peer support for community dwelling older people with chronic low back pain: a feasibility and acceptability study. Physiotherapy [online], 106, pages 154-162. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 28, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 4, 2019
Publication Date Mar 31, 2020
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 1, 2019
Journal Physiotherapy (Elsevier)
Print ISSN 0031-9406
Electronic ISSN 1873-1465
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 106
Pages 154-162
Keywords Peer support; Low back pain; Chronic pain; Self Care; Self Management; Adults
Public URL


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