Feasibility RCT of a targeted volunteer peer coaching service for outpatients with long-term conditions: the PEER CONNECT study

This research project will undertake a feasibility trial and qualitative study to evaluate the implementation a new volunteer peer coaching service in Torbay Hospital designed to support outpatients with chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and MS. Poor self-management of these conditions can significantly reduce quality of life and increase functional disability and mortality. There is a growing but limited evidence base that suggests using volunteer peer health and well-being (HWB) coaches can increase patient activation, improve self-management and quality of life. Volunteers may also benefit from being coaching themselves.

This 24-month study seeks to evaluate whether it is practicable and acceptable to establish a volunteer peer HWB coaching service targeted at lowly-activated patients who are struggling to manage their long-term condition(s). It will also assess the feasibility of designing and conducting an RCT to formally test the impact of a peer coaching service i.e. recruitment and adherence rates, outcome acceptability and completion rates, are we looking at QOL, health related outcomes and Hospital admission rate, wellbeing for people  with LTC who get peer support? If the trial results are positive they will be used to inform the design of an application to the NIHR to run a definitive multi-site RCT. This research will be conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Plymouth.

University of Plymouth team members

External researchers

Dr Agne Straukiene, Consultant Neurologist (TSD NHS FT), Research clinical lead
Helen Davies Cox, Head of Personalised Care (TSD NHS FT), Service project lead

Study sponsor: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Trial registration: ISRCTN12623577

For more information about the study, please contact Rachel Dennett at peerconnect@plymouth.ac.uk or on 07766 363154.