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Peer volunteer perspectives following a complex social cognitive intervention: a qualitative investigation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 February 2016

J. E. McHugh*
Affiliation:
NEIL Program, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
O. Lee
Affiliation:
NEIL Program, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
N. Aspell
Affiliation:
NEIL Program, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
L. Connolly
Affiliation:
NEIL Program, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
B. A. Lawlor
Affiliation:
NEIL Program, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
S. Brennan
Affiliation:
NEIL Program, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Joanna E McHugh, Room 3.10, Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland. Phone: +003531 896 8414; Fax: +353-1-896 3183. Email: mchughje@tcd.ie.

Abstract

Background:

Peer volunteers can be key to delivering effective social cognitive interventions due to increased potential for social modeling. We consulted peer volunteers who had just taken part in an 8-week social and nutritional mealtime intervention with older adults living alone, to seek their evaluation of the intervention.

Methods:

Semi-structured focus groups were used with a total of 21 volunteers (17 female) and two facilitators. Thematic analysis was used to interrogate the data.

Results:

Six themes (16 sub-themes) are discussed. Peer volunteers described the importance of the socializing aspect of the intervention, of pairing considerations and compatibility in peer interventions, of considering the needs of the participant, of benefits to the volunteers, and of the practical considerations of conducting an intervention. Volunteers also discussed considerations for future research and services for older adults living alone.

Conclusions:

Volunteers found their involvement in the intervention to be personally beneficial, and revealed some valuable considerations for the researchers to take forward to future research. Results are pertinent to intervention design and could inform future social cognitive and other peer-oriented interventions for older adults living alone.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2016 

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