Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Peer Support for Cancer Survivors Using Motivational Interviewing

Implementing a One-on-One Peer Support Program for Cancer Survivors Using a Motivational Interviewing Approach: Results and Lessons Learned

Allicock M, Carr C, Johnson LS, Smith R, Lawrence M, Kaye L, Gellin M, Manning M

Peer Connect matches cancer survivors and caregivers (guides) with those currently experiencing cancer-related issues seeking support (partners). Motivational interviewing (MI)-based communication skills are taught to provide patient-centered support. There is little guidance about MI-based applications with cancer survivors who may have multiple coping needs. This paper addresses the results and lessons learned from implementing Peer Connect. Thirteen cancer survivors and two caregivers received a 2-day MI, DVD-based training along with six supplemental sessions. Nineteen partners were matched with guides and received telephone support. Evaluation included guide skill assessment (Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity Code) and 6-month follow-up surveys with guides and partners.

Guides demonstrated MI proficiency and perceived their training as effective. Guides provided on average of five calls to each partner. Conversation topics included cancer fears, family support needs, coping and care issues, and cancer-related decisions. Partners reported that guides provided a listening ear, were supportive, and nonjudgmental. Limited time availability of some guides was a challenge. MI can provide support for cancer survivors and caregivers without specific behavioral concerns (e.g., weight and smoking). An MI support model was both feasible and effective and can provide additional support outside of the medical system.

J Cancer Educ; Oct 2013 [Full Abstract]

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