Should anyone be excluded as a facilitator?

At first it seems that anyone who wants to be involved in a peer support group should be able to. However, care needs to be taken to ensure that people who would be unsuitable or even dangerous are directed towards other services.

For example, in our type 2 diabetes groups, we excluded those with psychotic illnesses, dementia or terminal illness. On the other hand, these conditions could be suitable for programmes focussing specifically on them.

Who you might want to exclude will depend on a number of things. The particular condition that the programme is designed for matters, but you should also consider where the peer support will take place, and whether there will be any health professional supervision. If peer support is to take place in people’s homes, it will be more important to be selective, whereas there are fewer risks when monitored peer support is organised in doctors’ surgeries.