Background: Culturally diverse communities face barriers managing chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions including navigation challenges, sub-optimal healthcare provider engagement and difficulty adopting self-management behaviours.
Objectives: To explore the feasibility and trends of effectiveness of implementing a cultural mentoring program alongside clinical service delivery.
Methods: This quasi-experimental controlled before-and-after multiple case study was conducted in three hospital-based services that provide treatment for patients with musculoskeletal pain. Two prospective cohorts, a pre-implementation and a post-implementation cohort, of adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain who attended during the 6-month recruitment phase, were eligible if they self-identified with one of the cultures prioritised for mentoring by the clinic. The pre-implementation cohort received routine care for up to 3-months, while the post-implementation cohort received up to 3-months of cultural mentoring integrated into routine care (3 to 10 sessions), provided by a consumer (n = 6) with lived experience. Feasibility measures (recruitment and completion rates, attendance, satisfaction), and trends of effectiveness (Patient Activation Measure and Health Literacy Questionnaire items one and six) were collated over 3-months for both cohorts. Outcomes were presented descriptively and analysed using Mann-Whitney U-tests for between-group comparisons. Translation and transcription of post-treatment semi-structured interviews allowed both cohorts’ perspectives of treatment to be analysed using a Rapid Assessment Process.
Results: The cultural mentor program was feasible to implement in clinical services with comparable recruitment rates (66% pre-implementation; 61% post-implementation), adequate treatment attendance (75% pre-implementation; 89% post-implementation), high treatment satisfaction (97% pre-implementation; 96% post-implementation), and minimal participant drop-out (< 5%). Compared to routine care (n = 71), patients receiving mentoring (n = 55) achieved significantly higher Patient Activation Measure scores (median change 0 vs 10.3 points, p < 0.01) at 3-months, while Health Literacy Questionnaire items did not change for either cohort over time. Three themes underpinned participant experiences and acceptability of the mentoring intervention: ‘expectational priming’, ‘lived expertise’ and ‘collectivist orientation’ to understand shared participant experiences and explore the potential differential effect of the mentoring intervention.
Conclusion: Participant experiences and observations of improved patient activation provide support for the acceptability of the mentoring intervention integrated into routine care. These results support the feasibility of conducting a definitive trial, while also exploring issues of scalability and sustainability.
- Cultural mentor
- Culturally and linguistically diverse
- Natural helper
- Patient activation