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Results of a pilot randomised controlled trial to measure the clinical and cost effectiveness of peer support in increasing hope and quality of life in mental health patients discharged from hospital in the UK

Simpson, Alan, Flood, Chris, Rowe, Julie, Quigley, Jody, Henry, Susan, Hall, Cerdic, Evans, Richard, Sherman, Paul, Bowers, Len (2014) Results of a pilot randomised controlled trial to measure the clinical and cost effectiveness of peer support in increasing hope and quality of life in mental health patients discharged from hospital in the UK. BMC Psychiatry, 14 (30). ISSN 1471-244X. (doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-30)

Abstract

Background Mental health patients can feel anxious about losing the support of staff and patients when discharged from hospital and often discontinue treatment, experience relapse and readmission to hospital, and sometimes attempt suicide. The benefits of peer support in mental health services have been identified in a number of studies with some suggesting clinical and economic gains in patients being discharged. Methods This pilot randomised controlled trial with economic evaluation aimed to explore whether peer support in addition to usual aftercare for patients during the transition from hospital to home would increase hope, reduce loneliness, improve quality of life and show cost effectiveness compared with patients receiving usual aftercare only, with follow-up at one and three-months post-discharge. Results A total of 46 service users were recruited to the study; 23 receiving peer support and 23 in the care-as-usual arm. While this pilot trial found no statistically significant benefits for peer support on the primary or secondary outcome measures, there is an indication that hope may be further increased in those in receipt of peer support. The total cost per case for the peer support arm of the study was £2154 compared to £1922 for the control arm. The mean difference between costs was minimal and not statistically significant. However, further analyses demonstrated that peer support has a reasonably high probability of being more cost effective for a modest positive change in the measure of hopelessness. Challenges faced in recruitment and follow-up are explored alongside limitations in the delivery of peer support. Conclusions The findings suggest there is merit in conducting further research on peer support in the transition from hospital to home consideration should be applied to the nature of the patient population to whom support is offered; the length and frequency of support provided; and the contact between peer supporters and mental health staff. There is no conclusive evidence to support the cost effectiveness of providing peer support, but neither was it proven a costly intervention to deliver. The findings support an argument for a larger scale trial of peer support as an adjunct to existing services.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1186/1471-244X-14-30
Additional information: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN74852771
Uncontrolled keywords: Peer support; Mental health; Discharge; Hope; Loneliness; Quality of life; Economic evaluation; Suicide
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental health
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Julie Hedayioglu
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2014 10:38 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 12:01 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/38201 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Rowe, Julie: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9805-7421
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