In order to ensure that Lifestyle Matters meets the needs of participants it is strongly recommended that a pre-group interview takes place prior to accepting people into the programme. The Lifestyle Matters programme is not suitable for individuals with medium to severe cognitive. Therefore all potential participants for the programme must be screened before being accepted.
Screening forms part of the pre-group interview. This is an opportunity for the facilitators to introduce themselves to the potential participants and to begin to establish a relationship. This first approach will be one of the key determinants in the person deciding whether or not they will attend the group. Finlay (1993) describes this process as, ‘a two way clarification of needs and expectations’.
During this exchange, information can be given about the group and its purpose and aims. The facilitator should address questions, clarify expectations and offer reassurance. It is a time when both the facilitator and the potential participant consider whether attending the group would be beneficial. In addition to screening for cognitive impairment, the potential participant can be invited to raise any specific health problems that the facilitator should be aware of.
The information collected during the pre-group interview feeds into the planning of the sessions and ensures that the group is tailored to meet the needs of the individuals for whom it is intended.