An Evaluation of a Peer Support Program to Improve Quality of Life with Breast Cancer
KAISER FOUNDATION RESEARCH INST OAKLANDCA
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The objective of this study was to develop, implement and evaluate a volunteer peer support program for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. This program augmented and complemented the American Cancer Societys Reach to Recovery Program. Our primary aim was to determine the value of providing a comprehensive, organizationally-specific, peer support program to women beginning at diagnosis and continuing for up to one year. Participants were paired with trained breast cancer survivors who provided them with ongoing peer support, in addition to specific information and skills to help them navigate the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program. Study volunteers received the standard Reach to Recovery training, in addition to a two-day skills training which prepared them to become breast cancer peer support volunteers and advocates. Results from this study showed that many variables affect whether or not an expanded peer support program is beneficial to women, including level of participation in the program, social support, and education. Although we did not find statistically significant differences between the two groups in major outcomes of interest, subgroup analysis showed that among women who used either program intensively, women in the intervention group scored better on quality of life measures than women in the control group.
- Medicine and Medical Research