Tuesday May 02, 2023 - 11:00 to 12:30
“You know you’re not the only one”: The experiences and perspectives of adolescent thoracic transplant recipients participating in the iPeer2Peer support mentorship program
Megan Liang1, Jia Lin1, Izabelle Siqueira1, Sara Ahola Kohut1, Simon Urschel2, Anna Gold3,4, Jennifer Stinson1, Stephanie Soto2, Marie McCoy2, Mirna Seifert-Hansen4, Suzanne Boucher1, Samantha Anthony1,4,5.
1Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Pediatrics, University of Alberta/Stollery Children's Hospital, Edmonton, ON, Canada; 3Department of Psychology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada; 4Transplant and Regenerative Medicine Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada; 5Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Introduction: Adolescent thoracic transplant recipients require life-long medical management and are at increased risk of psychological distress, social isolation and impaired social and cognitive functioning compared to healthy peers. This is concerning as adolescent recipients are undergoing critical developments in their identity and independence as they prepare for the transition into adult care. The iPeer2Peer support mentorship program enables trained young adult peer mentors to provide modelling and reinforcement to adolescent peer mentees with the same chronic illness. This study assessed the experiences and perspectives of adolescent thoracic transplant mentees participating in the iPeer2Peer program.
Methods: The iPeer2Peer program in thoracic transplantation was piloted at two Canadian pediatric transplant centers. Adolescent mentees (12-17 years old) who received a heart or lung transplant were matched one-to-one with trained mentors (18-25 years old) who were successfully managing their transplant. Mentee-mentor pairings connected over 15-weeks through video calls and text messaging. A qualitative descriptive approach was utilized and semi-structured interviews were conducted with peer mentees following the completion of the iPeer2Peer program. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and subject to thematic and content analysis.
Results: Mentee participants included 13 heart and 2 lung transplant recipients (median age: 15 years old; range: 12-17 years old) with diverse gender and ethnic backgrounds. Three themes emerged: (1) Seeking a sense of normalcy in personal transplant journey, (2) Enabling meaning-making through reciprocal story sharing, and (3) Nurturing confidence and disease self-management skills. Mentees reported high satisfaction and engagement with the iPeer2Peer program, and all would recommend the program to other adolescent thoracic transplant recipients: “It definitely helped me. I feel like if [other transplant recipients] had any troubles, it would definitely help them as well. And maybe might give them some more comfort in their situation.”
Conclusion: The iPeer2Peer program is a promising intervention to improve the quality of life for adolescent thoracic transplant recipients. Next steps involve investigating the implementation effectiveness outcomes and conducting interviews with peer mentors to capture their experiences participating in the iPeer2Peer program. Findings will inform a future multi-centre randomized controlled trial evaluating the iPeer2Peer program across solid organ transplant clinical populations.