Background: In light of health disparities and the growing prevalence of chronic disease, there is a need for community-based interventions that improve health behaviors and health status. These interventions should be based on existing theory.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the health and utilization outcomes of a 6-week community-based program for Spanish speakers with heart disease, lung disease, or type 2 diabetes.
Method: The treatment participants in this study (n = 327) took a 6-week peer-led program. At 4 months, they were compared with randomized wait-list control subjects (n = 224) using analyses of covariance. The outcomes for all the treatment participants were assessed at 1 year, as compared with baseline scores (n = 271) using t-tests.
Results: At 4 months, the participants, as compared with usual-care control subjects, demonstrated improved health status, health behavior, and self-efficacy, as well as fewer emergency room visits (p <.05). At 1 year, the improvements were maintained and remained significantly different from baseline condition.
Conclusions: This community-based program has the potential to improve the lives of Hispanics with chronic illness while reducing emergency room use.