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Open Access Research

Factors influencing the implementation of a lifestyle counseling program in patients with venous leg ulcers: a multiple case study

Irene M van de Glind1*, Maud M Heinen1, Andrea W Evers2, Michel Wensing1 and Theo van Achterberg1

Author Affiliations

1 Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

2 Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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Implementation Science 2012, 7:104  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-104

Published: 26 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Implementation of lifestyle interventions in patient care is a major challenge. Understanding factors that influence implementation is a first step in programs to enhance uptake of these interventions. A lifestyle-counseling intervention, Lively Legs, delivered by trained nurses, can effectively improve the lifestyle in patients with venous leg ulcers. The aim of this study was to identify factors that hindered or facilitated implementation of this intervention in outpatient dermatology clinics and in home care.

Methods

A mixed-methods multiple case study in five purposefully selected healthcare settings in the Netherlands was conducted. Measurements to identify influencing factors before and after implementation of Lively Legs included interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and nurses’ registration. Analyses focused on qualitative data as the main data source. All data were compared across multiple cases to draw conclusions from the study as a whole.

Results

A total of 53 patients enrolled in the Lively Legs program, which was delivered by 12 trained nurses. Barriers for implementation were mainly organizational. It was difficult to effectively organize reaching and recruiting patients for the program, especially in home care. Main barriers were a lack of a standardized healthcare delivery process, insufficient nursing time, and a lack of motivated nurses to deliver the program. Facilitating factors were nurse-driven coordination of care and a standardized care process to tie Lively Legs into, as this resulted in better patient recruitment and better program implementation.

Conclusions

This study identified a range of factors influencing the implementation of a lifestyle-counseling program, mainly related to the organization of healthcare. Using a case study method proved valuable in obtaining insight into influencing factors for implementation. This study also shed light on a more general issue, which is that leg ulcer care is often fragmented, indicating that quality improvement is needed.

Keywords:
Lifestyle; Varicose ulcer; Venous leg ulcers; Implementation; Case study