Scientific Evidence


Peer Support for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes in Rural Communities of China

BMC Public Health. 2014 Jul 23;14:747. [Pubmed Abstract]

Peer support for patients with type 2 diabetes in rural communities of China: protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial
Xie B, Ye XL, Sun ZL1, Jia M, Jin H, Ju CP, Yao L, Vladmir CH, Yang Y

The prevalence of diabetes has been growing rapidly in developing countries. This causes devastating economic burdens and increases demands on the health care system. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find a cost-effective and multi-faceted approach for diabetes care. Peer support models provide a potentially low-cost, flexible means which complements the current existing health care services. In this way, trained peer leaders can become qualified extensions to a formal healthcare system, capable of assisting education delivery and bolstering the efforts of professional staff. As such, creating a cultural specific peer support program and determining whether it is acceptable and cost-effective in rural communities of China is crucial. This study aims to implement and evaluate biophysical and psychosocial outcomes of peer support program for people with type 2 diabetes in rural communities, and to explore the program’s feasibility and sustainability in China.

This study is a cluster randomised controlled trial. All consenting patients will be randomised by community staff members to receive either peer support or the control care. The data collection and analysis including social demographics, health status, psychosocial status, economic status and biomedical measures will be collected at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. The primary indicator measured is the change in HbA1c, whereas secondary indicators include biophysical, psychosocial functioning and other lifestyle factors. Finally, economic evaluations will determine whether the program is cost effective.

This protocol is a cluster randomized, controlled trial of group-based peer support for people with type 2 diabetes in the community settings of rural China. Results from this trial may provide evidence to the effectiveness of peer support; furthermore, they will provide valuable information concerning the acceptability and feasibility of a new approach to improve diabetes self-management among resource-constrained settings.



Impact of State Certification of CHWs on Team Climate Among Registered Nurses in the US

Community Health. 2014 Jul 25. [Pubmed Abstract]

The Impact of State Certification of Community Health Workers on Team Climate Among Registered Nurses in the United States
Siemon M, Shuster G, Boursaw B

A number of states have adopted certification programs for community health workers (CHWs) to improve recognition of CHWs as members of health care teams, increase oversight, and to provide sustainable funding. There has been little research into the impact of state CHW certification on the diffusion and adoption of CHWs into existing health care systems. This study examined the impact of state CHW certification on the perceptions of team climate among registered nurses (RNs) who work with CHWs in states with and without CHW certification programs.

The study recruited RNs using a purposeful sampling method and used an online survey, which included the Team Climate Inventory (TCI), and compared the perceptions of team climate between the two groups. The study found no significant differences in the overall mean TCI score or TCI subscale scores between RNs who work in states with CHW certification programs (n = 81) and those who work in states without CHW certification programs (n = 115). There was a statistically significant difference on one survey question regarding whether RNs believe state certification of CHWs improved the ability of their health care team to deliver quality care. More research is needed to assess impact of state certification of CHWs and other factors that influence the diffusion and adoption of CHWs into the current health care system.


A Change Model for Peer Worker Interventions in Mental Health

Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2014 Jul 3:1-11. [Pubmed Abstract]

Developing a change model for peer worker interventions in mental health services: a qualitative research study
Gillard S, Gibson SL, Holley J, Lucock M

A range of peer worker roles are being introduced into mental health services internationally. There is some evidence that attests to the benefits of peer workers for the people they support but formal trial evidence in inconclusive, in part because the change model underpinning peer support-based interventions is underdeveloped. Complex intervention evaluation guidance suggests that understandings of how an intervention is associated with change in outcomes should be modelled, theoretically and empirically, before the intervention can be robustly evaluated. This paper aims to model the change mechanisms underlying peer worker interventions.

In a qualitative, comparative case study of ten peer worker initiatives in statutory and voluntary sector mental health services in England in-depth interviews were carried out with 71 peer workers, service users, staff and managers, exploring their experiences of peer working. Using a Grounded Theory approach we identified core processes within the peer worker role that were productive of change for service users supported by peer workers.

Key change mechanisms were: (i) building trusting relationships based on shared lived experience; (ii) role-modelling individual recovery and living well with mental health problems; (iii) engaging service users with mental health services and the community. Mechanisms could be further explained by theoretical literature on role-modelling and relationship in mental health services. We were able to model process and downstream outcomes potentially associated with peer worker interventions.

An empirically and theoretically grounded change model can be articulated that usefully informs the development, evaluation and planning of peer worker interventions.