3 Nov 2022 · Participant Experience

Abi's Blog

I joined the Re:Mission study PPI group from the application stage because of my interest in tackling health inequalities and my lived experience with diabetes.

Patient and public involvement (PPI) is a core aspect of research from the design stage through dissemination of results. I am opportune to collaborate with an excellent research team and a diverse PPI group with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The Re:Mission study employed an ongoing collaboration strategy by engaging the PPI throughout the research process. The PPI continue working closely with Re:Mission team to develop the recruitment strategies, designing the study webpage, data collection instruments, and involvement with service users' interviews. This was to ensure our methods, outputs, and study information was sensitive to service users' needs and priorities. We were given the option to join the team to conduct the qualitative interviews; I offered to be part of the interviewing process. This was because I had qualitative interview experience. With the lived experience of diabetes, I felt this might encourage the service users to be more open and willing to share their experiences on the Low-Calorie Diet intervention. In this blog, I will discuss my personal experience in the interviews with the service users.

I was privileged to be involved in developing the interview guides and photo elicitation, which made me familiar with the interview process. In addition to my qualitative interview skills, I attended the qualitative interview training sponsored by the Re:Mission team. Attending the interview training refreshed my interview skills in readiness for the Re:Mission interview sessions. I had the privilege of taking part in the interviews with the service users at the six-week and 12 weeks intervention stages. The interviewers ensured that I was involved in the planning stage and scheduling of the interview dates and times taking into consideration the service users' preferences. They also forwarded me the interview guides and explained the format to ensure that I was well informed on the structure before the interviews.

I used my lived experience to explore, using follow-up questions, the experience of the service users on the interventions and the impact on their health, well-being, and socialisation. I observed that it was useful for the service users and interviewers to have a peer-to-peer relationship rather than a top down one. This provided an avenue as an insider to facilitate service users' trust, good rapport, and willingness to share their experiences on the NHS LCD programme freely. Although I could resonate with their diabetes experience in the interview, I ensured that they told their own stories by applying my listening skills, not influencing their responses with my own experience of living with diabetes. I made sure that I used my experience to ask relevant questions to explore their answers to ensure we collect robust data that will inform the recommendations to improve the experiences of patients from diverse ethnicity on the NHS Low-Calorie Diet interventions.

The interviewers gave me the advantage of introducing myself as a PPI member of the Re:Mission team and someone with a lived experience of diabetes. I felt that being part of the interview process gave the service users a sense of commonality, having seen someone with the same problem; particularly with ethnic minority individuals. It was a win-win experience because I could learn from their experiences and practices, which could help me with my diabetes journey. Reflecting on my involvement with the interviewing process, I felt valued, respected, and listened to. I have had a fulfilling experience being a Re:Mission PPI group member.

NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme

Read more about the NHS low calorie diet programme that we are evaluating.