Jackson M, Jones D, Dyson J, et al. Facilitated group work for people with long-term conditions: a systematic review of benefits from studies of group-work interventions. Br J Gen Pract. 2019 May;69(682):e363-e372. doi: 10.3399/bjgp19X702233. Epub 2019 Apr 8. (Systematic review)

BACKGROUND: About 15.4 million people in the UK live with a long-term condition. Of the health and social care spend, 70% is invested in caring for this population. Evidence suggests that group-work interventions offer patient support, improved outcomes, and reduce the costs of care.

AIM: To review the current evidence base examining the effectiveness of group work in long-term physical disease where such groups are facilitated by healthcare professionals.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic review and narrative synthesis of studies of group-work interventions led by health professionals for adults with specified long-term illnesses.

METHOD: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Cochrane databases were systematically searched using terms relating to group work and long-term conditions. Studies were included if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with a control group that did not include group work.

RESULTS: The 14 included studies demonstrated a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of participant characteristics, interventions, and outcome measures and were of varying quality. The studies demonstrated some statistically significant improvements in pain, psychological outcomes, self-efficacy, self-care, and quality of life resulting from intervention.

CONCLUSION: This review demonstrates significant benefits resulting from group participation, in adults with long-term disease. Results were mixed and some benefits were short-lived. Nevertheless, these results suggest that group work should be more widely used in the management and support of adults with long-term illness. There is a need for larger and better-quality studies to explore this potentially important area further.

Discipline Area Score
Psychologist 6 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Psychologist rater

To me, it is very important to emphasize that considering the paucity of studies assessing lay-led interventions, the authors recommend professionally led group-based and, also relevant, theoretically underpinned interventions to support people with long-term conditions.

Psychologist rater

This is an important review of a well respected treatment modality that re-affirms its practical relevance in this day of "show me the proof".
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