Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

A Qualitative Study on a Peer Support Intervention for People with Diabetes in Ireland

Implementing a peer-support intervention for people with type 2 diabetes: a qualitative study

Paul G, Keogh K, D’Eath M, Smith SM

This qualitative study aimed to explore participants’, peer supporters’ and practice nurses’ experience of the implementation of a peer-support intervention for people with type 2 diabetes.

The study was conducted in family practice in Ireland. Participants were selected from the patients, peer supporters and practice nurses who participated in a 2-year randomized controlled trial of peer support in type 2 diabetes. The sample consisted of 6 practice nurses, 15 peer supporters and 33 intervention participants. Data were collected using focus groups and semi-structured interviews and transcribed verbatim. Key themes and concepts were identified using framework analysis.

The following themes emerged: who gets invited to be a peer supporter?; training and support for peer supporters; and peer-support meetings and challenges of delivering a peer-support programme. Recruiting peer supporters via the general practices was successful. Although some peer supporters were hesitant to participate initially, they were satisfied in their role and felt well trained and supported. Participants were overwhelmingly positive about the peer-support meetings. They welcomed the fact that the meetings were led by a peer; however, some participants reported that they would have liked occasional input from health professionals. The ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ element of the intervention was very popular with both participants and peer supporters.

This study revealed that it was feasible to implement a peer-support intervention in the general practice setting. Challenges of delivering such an intervention were identified, particularly in relation to meeting attendance, and should be considered in further research in the area.

Fam Pract; July 2013 [Full Abstract]

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