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  • 1.
    Thomson, Gill
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Caring Science/Nursing.
    Balaam, Marie-Clare
    International insights into peer support in a neonatal context: a mixed-methods study2019In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 14, no 7, article id e0219743Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Peer support is a widely used intervention that offers information and emotional support to parents during their infant's admission to the neonatal unit and/or post-discharge. Despite its widespread use, there are no comprehensive insights into the nature and types of neonatal-related peer support, or the training and support offered to peer supporters. We aimed to bridge these knowledge gaps via an international study into neonatal peer support provision. A mixed-methods study comprising an online survey was issued to peer support services/organisations, and follow-up interviews held with a purposive sample of survey respondents. Survey/interview questions explored the funding, types of peer support and the recruitment, training and support for peer supporters. Descriptive and thematic analysis was undertaken. Thirty-one managers/coordinators/trainers and 77 peer supporters completed the survey from 48 peer support organisations/services in 16 different countries; with 26 interviews undertaken with 27 survey respondents. We integrated survey and interview findings into five themes: 'background and infrastructure of peer support services', 'timing, location and nature of peer support', 'recruitment and suitability of peer supporters', 'training provision' and 'professional and emotional support'. Findings highlight variations in the types of peer support provided, training and development opportunities, supervisory and mentoring arrangements and the methods of recruitment and support for peer supporters; with these differences largely related to the size, funding, multidisciplinary involvement, and level of integration of peer support within healthcare pathways and contexts. Despite challenges, promising strategies were reported across the different services to inform macro (e.g. to facilitate management and leadership support), meso (e.g. to help embed peer support in practice) and micro (e.g. to improve training, supervision and support of peer supporters) recommendations to underpin the operationalisation and delivery of PS provision.

  • 2.
    Thomson, Gill
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Caring Science/Nursing. University of Central Lancashire.
    Crossland, N.
    University of Central Lancashire.
    Using the behaviour change wheel to explore infant feeding peer support provision; Insights from a North West UK evaluation2019In: International Breastfeeding Journal, ISSN 1746-4358, E-ISSN 1746-4358, Vol. 14, no 1, article id 41Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Breastfeeding peer support is advocated in national and international guidelines, but the evidence base is mixed. In the UK, breastfeeding peer support was found to be ineffective in randomised controlled trials, while women report positive impacts on breastfeeding experiences in qualitative studies. A key criticism levied against breastfeeding peer support is the lack of theory underpinning intervention design. Here we use the Behaviour Change Wheel to structure the analysis of evaluation data from an infant feeding peer support service in one area in North West England. We aimed to provide theoretically informed insights into how peer support can be operationalised to influence women’s breastfeeding experiences.

    Methods: A 2 year mixed-methods evaluation (2014–2016) comprised surveys and interviews (individual or group) with peer supporters, health and community professionals, project leads and women, and routinely collected infant feeding data. We used the three layers (policies, intervention functions and behaviour-related components) of the Behaviour Change Wheel to structure and interpret the data.

    Results: Overall data comprised 23 interviews (n = 14 - individual; n = 9 - group) and 409 completed surveys. The findings are presented in three sections. First, the ‘policies’ (outer) layer of the Behaviour Change Wheel provides insights into the existing context, infrastructure and resources that underpinned peer support delivery. Then the second (intervention functions) and inner (behaviour components) layers of the Behaviour Change Wheel are used to present three themes, ‘developing capabilities for infant feeding’, ‘motivating guidance and support’ and ‘opportunities for support’. These findings highlight that a peer support service delivered in a context of effective interdisciplinary partnerships, Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation, and flexible service planning, with peer support provided via different types of instrumental, social, practical and emotional support was perceived to be highly beneficial on women’s breastfeeding experiences. In the final section key challenges faced by the service are outlined.

    Conclusion: While gaps and areas for development were highlighted, the service enhanced women’s capabilities, motivations and opportunities for breastfeeding. These theoretically informed insights into an organic and responsive peer support service help build the evidence base for breastfeeding peer support and to identify positive delivery features for future testing.

  • 3.
    Thomson, Gill
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Caring Science/Nursing. University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
    Crowther, Susan
    Phenomenology as a political position within maternity care2019In: Nursing Philosophy, ISSN 1466-7681, E-ISSN 1466-769X, Vol. 20, no 4, article id e12275Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, the authors use the context of childbirth to consider the power that is endemic in certain forms of evidence within maternity care research. First, there is consideration of how the current evidence hierarchy and experimental-based studies are the gold standard to determine and direct women's maternity experiences, although this can be at the detriment of care and irrespective of women's needs. This is followed by a critique of how the predominant means to assess women's experiences via satisfaction surveys is of limited utility, offering impartial and restricted insights to assess the quality of care provision. A counter position of hermeneutic phenomenology as research method is then described. This approach offers an alternative perspective by penetrating the taken-for-granted ordinariness of an event (such as childbirth) to elicit rich emic meanings. Whilst all approaches to understanding maternity care have a place, depending on the question(s) being asked, the contribution of phenomenology is how it can uncover a depth of contextual understanding into what matters to women and to inform and transform care delivery.

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