Lung Support Service: Implementation of a Nationwide Text Message Support Program for People with Chronic Respiratory Disease during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rebecca Raeside*, Anna C Singleton, Allyson Todd, Stephanie R Partridge, Karice K Hyun, Helen Kulas, Sally L Wootton, Marita T Dale, Jennifer A Alison, Zoe McKeough, Renae J McNamara, Lissa Spencer, Christine Jenkins, Julie Redfern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns led to the closure of most in-person pulmonary rehabilitation programs in Australia. Text message programs are effective for delivering health support to aid the self-management of people with chronic diseases. This study aimed to evaluate the implementation of a six-month pre-post text message support program (Texting for Wellness: Lung Support Service), and the enablers and barriers to its adoption and implementation.

METHODS: This mixed-methods pre-post study used the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework to evaluate the Texting for Wellness: Lung Support Service, which is an automated six-month text message support program that included evidence-based lifestyle, disease-self management and COVID-19-related information. Reach was measured by the proportion of participant enrolments and demographic characteristics. Adoption enablers and barriers were measured using text message response data and a user feedback survey (five-point Likert scale questions and free-text responses). Implementation was evaluated to determine fidelity including text message delivery data, opt-outs, and intervention costs to promote and deliver the program.

RESULTS: In total, 707/1940 (36.4%) participants enrolled and provided e-consent, with a mean age (±standard deviation) of 67.9 (±9.2) years old (range: 23-87 years). Of participants who provided feedback, (326/707) most 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that the text messages were easy to understand (98.5%), helpful them to feel supported (92.3%) and helped them to manage their health (88.0%). Factors influencing engagement included a feeling of support and reducing loneliness, and its usefulness for health self-management. Messages were delivered as planned (93.7% successfully delivered) with minimal participant dropouts (92.2% retention rate) and low cost ($AUD24.48/participant for six months). A total of 2263 text message replies were received from 496 unique participants. There were no reported adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Texting for Wellness: Lung Support Service was implemented quickly, had a broad reach, with high retention and acceptability among participants. The program was low cost and required minimal staff oversight, which may facilitate future implementation. Further research is needed to evaluate the efficacy of text messaging for the improvement of lung health outcomes and strategies for long-term pulmonary rehabilitation program maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17073
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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