Pediatr Transplant. 2022 Jun 25:e14345. doi: 10.1111/petr.14345. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Adolescent transplant patients are at increased risk for graft loss at a period when they also suffer from illness-related social isolation, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Peer Mentoring Program (PMP), developed in 2018, was adapted to a virtual format in 2020 due to COVID-19. Our objective is to evaluate the acceptability, utility, and potential impact of the in-person and virtual versions of the PMP on participants.
METHODS: We performed convergent mixed-methods analysis of the experiences of patients participating in the PMP for quality improvement purposes.
RESULTS: Surveys and focus group invitations were sent to 18 current program participants, with 17 patients responding to the survey and 13 patients participating in focus groups. In this study, 82% were satisfied and 88% would recommend PMP; 76% identified other PMP members as people they would like to keep in touch with. Qualitative analysis revealed three themes: (1) a supportive community of peers, (2) reduced isolation, and (3) receiving accurate information from providers.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a prominent need for greater peer support among adolescent transplant patients transitioning to adulthood, especially with the increased isolation associated with COVID-19. The virtual adaptation could be an important, permanent supplement to in-person events.
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