Experiences of older vulnerable people with ischemic heart disease and their peer mentors: A qualitative process evaluation

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Aim: To understand the content and context of a realized peer mentor intervention, and to explore how mentors and mentees experienced the intervention. Design: The study was designed as a qualitative process evaluation of a 24-week peer mentor intervention. Methods: Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted from November 2021 to May 2022 in a purposeful sample of older vulnerable people with ischemic heart disease, referred to as mentees (n = 13), and their peer mentors (n = 12). Thematic analysis was used to analyse, categorize and interpret interview data. Results: Five themes captured the content and context of the peer mentor intervention as experienced by mentors and mentees. ‘Takes one to know one’, stressing the importance of the mentor–mentee matching process; ‘Varying demand for mentors’, illustrating the difficulties in predicting who has the greatest need for mentoring; ‘Varying degree of familiarity’, describing the mentor–mentee relationship as a continuum from formal mentor to informal friend; ‘Putting the patient first’, illustrating how mentors support mentees based on their personal experiences of successful recovery while letting the mentee set the pace and goals; and ‘Varying view of success’, showing how intervention success is perceived differently by mentors and mentees. Conclusions: The study provides new knowledge on how and under what contextual circumstances a mentor intervention works. These findings are important for the implementation of future peer mentor interventions to achieve successful peer mentor support. Implications and Impact: Non-attendance and drop-out from the cardiac rehabilitation program are prevalent problems among older vulnerable people with cardiovascular disease. This study describes a low-cost peer mentor intervention that can support this group of patients. Reporting Method: Standards for reporting qualitative research (SRQR) guided our study. Patient or Public Contribution: A board of cardiovascular patients have contributed to the development and implementation of the intervention being evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)993-1003
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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