Effectiveness of peer educators on the uptake of mobile X-ray tuberculosis screening at homeless hostels: A cluster randomised controlled trial

Robert W. Aldridge, Andrew C. Hayward*, Sara Hemming, Lucia Possas, Gloria Ferenando, Elizabeth Garber, Marc Lipman, Timothy D. McHugh, Alistair Story

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Trial design: Cluster randomised controlled trial. Objective: To compare current practice for encouraging homeless people to be screened for tuberculosis on a mobile digital X-ray unit in London, UK, with the additional use of volunteer peer educators who have direct experience of tuberculosis, homelessness or both. Participants: 46 hostels took part in the study, with a total of 2342 residents eligible for screening. The study took place between February 2012 and October 2013 at homeless hostels in London, UK. Intervention: At intervention sites, volunteer peer educators agreed to a work plan that involved moving around the hostel in conjunction with the hostel staff, and speaking to residents in order to encourage them to attend the screening. Randomisation: Cluster randomisation (by hostel) was performed using an internet-based service to ensure allocation concealment, with minimisation by hostel size and historical screening uptake. Blinding: Only the study statistician was blinded to the allocation of intervention or control arms. Primary outcome: The primary outcome was the number of eligible clients at a hostel venue screened for active pulmonary tuberculosis by the mobile X-ray unit. Results: A total of 59 hostels were considered for eligibility and 46 were randomised. Control sites had a total of 1192 residents, with a median uptake of 45% (IQR 3355). Intervention sites had 1150 eligible residents with a median uptake of 40% (IQR 25-61). Using Poisson regression to account for the clustered study design, hostel size and historical screening levels, there was no evidence that peer educators increased uptake (adjusted risk ratio 0.98; 95% CIs 0.80 to 1.20). The study team noted no adverse events. Conclusions: This study found no evidence that volunteer peer educators increased client uptake of mobile X-ray unit screening for tuberculosis. Further qualitative work should be undertaken to explore the possible ancillary benefits to peer volunteers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere008050
JournalBMJ Open
Volume5
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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