Process evaluation of a tailored nudge intervention to promote appropriate care and treatment of older patients at the end-of-life

Ella L Bracci*, Adrian G Barnett, Christine Brown, Leonie Callaway, Magnolia Cardona, Hannah E Carter, Nicholas Graves, Kenneth Hillman, Xing J Lee, Steven M. McPhail, Ben P White, Lindy Willmott, Gillian Harvey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Non-beneficial treatment affects a considerable proportion of older people in hospital, and some will choose to decline invasive treatments when they are approaching the end of their life. The Intervention for Appropriate Care and Treatment (InterACT) intervention was a 12-month stepped wedge randomised controlled trial with an embedded process evaluation in three hospitals in Brisbane, Australia. The aim was to increase appropriate care and treatment decisions for older people at the end-of-life, through implementing a nudge intervention in the form of a prospective feedback loop. However, the trial results indicated that the expected practice change did not occur. The process evaluation aimed to assess implementation using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, identify barriers and enablers to implementation and provide insights into the lack of effect of the InterACT intervention.

METHODS: Qualitative data collection involved 38 semi-structured interviews with participating clinicians, members of the executive advisory groups overseeing the intervention at a site level, clinical auditors, and project leads. Online interviews were conducted at two times: implementation onset and completion. Data were coded to the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and deductively analysed.

RESULTS: Overall, clinicians felt the premise and clinical reasoning behind InterACT were strong and could improve patient management. However, several prominent barriers affected implementation. These related to the potency of the nudge intervention and its integration into routine clinical practice, clinician beliefs and perceived self-efficacy, and wider contextual factors at the health system level.

CONCLUSIONS: An intervention designed to change clinical practice for patients at or near to end-of-life did not have the intended effect. Future interventions targeting this area of care should consider using multi-component strategies that address the identified barriers to implementation and clinician change of practice.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ANZCTR), ACTRN12619000675123p (approved 06/05/2019).

Original languageEnglish
Article number202
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2024


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