A mixed method study of a peer support intervention for newly diagnosed primary brain tumour patients

Douglas Ozier, Rosemary Cashman


Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the impact of an intervention designed to enhance quality of life in newly diagnosed primary brain tumour (PBT) patients. The intervention involved a structured, one time meeting between newly diagnosed PBT patients and trained volunteer “veteran” PBT patients. 

Methods: Two volunteers met for a single, one-on-one meeting with a total of 10 newly diagnosed PBT patients. A combination of questionnaires and interviews were used to investigate the impact of the intervention for both the new patients and the volunteers. 

Results: The intervention appeared to be of substantial value for both groups of participants. Analysis revealed that the newly diagnosed patients experienced a range of benefits, including those related to the themes of: increased hope, valued guidance, hearing what it’s really like, overcoming aloneness, and receiving a wake up call to what matters. Only relatively minor adverse effects and challenges were reported. 

Conclusions: The findings provide initial evidence that the developed intervention has the potential to be a safe, useful means of enhancing psycho-social well-being in newly diagnosed PBT patients. 

Further investigation into the potential of one-to-one, peer support for brain tumour patients is an important research priority. 

Key words: cancer; brain tumour, peer support, quality of life, volunteer

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