12 March 2019
This study was designed to evaluate the feasibility of a cluster randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of lay health workers (LHWs) in improving the uptake and completion of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in the treatment of COPD.
LHWs, trained in confidentiality, role boundaries, and behavior change techniques, supported patients newly referred for PR. Interactions between LHWs and participants were recorded with smartphones. Outcomes were recruitment and retention rates of LHWs, questionnaire and interview-evaluated acceptability and analysis of intervention fidelity.
Forty (36%) of 110 PR-experienced COPD patients applied to become LHWs. Twenty (18%) were selected for training. Twelve (11%) supported patients. Sixty-six COPD patients referred for PR received the intervention (5.5 participants per LHW). Ten LHWs were retained to the end of the study. Seventy-three percent of supported patients were satisfied or very satisfied with the intervention. LHWs delivered the intervention with appropriate style and variable fidelity. LHWs would welcome more intensive training. Based on this proof of concept, a cluster randomized controlled trial of an LHW intervention to improve uptake and completion of PR is feasible.