• The barriers and facilitators to the implementation of National Clinical Programmes in Ireland: using the MRC framework for process evaluations.

      Darker, Catherine D; Nicolson, Gail H; Carroll, Aine; Barry, Joe M; 1 - 2. Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Institute of Population Health, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. 3. Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division, Health Service Executive, Dr Steevens' Hospital. 4.School of Medicine, University College Dublin (BMC Health Services Research, 2018-09-24)
      A major healthcare reform agenda in Ireland is underway which underpins the establishment of a series of National Clinical Programmes (NCPs), which aim to take an evidence based approach to improve quality, access and value. The current study aimed to determine the enablers and barriers to implementation of the NCPs. A qualitative methodology advocated by the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework on conducting process evaluations of complex interventions guided this research. Purposive sampling techniques were used to recruit participants from seven NCPs across both acute and chronic healthcare domains, comprised of orthopaedics, rheumatology, elective surgery, emergency medicine, paediatrics, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A total of 33 participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Participants included current and previous Clinical Leads, Programme Managers, Health Service Executive management, hospital Chief Executive Officers, representatives of General Practice, and a Nursing and a Patient representative. Thematic analyses was conducted. A range of factors of different combinations and co-occurrence were highlighted across a total of six themes, including (i) positive leadership, governance and clinical networks of the NCPs, (ii) the political and social context in which the NCPs operate, (iii) constraints on resources, (iv) a passive attitudinal resistance to change borne from poor consultation and communication, (v) lack of data and information technology, (vi) forces outside of the NCPs such as the general practitioner contract thwarting change of the model of care. The MRC framework proved a useful tool to conduct this process evaluation. Results from this research provide real world experiences and insight from the people charged with implementing large-scale health system improvement initiatives. The findings highlight the need for measured responses that acknowledge both direct and non-direct challenges and opportunities for successful change. Combined, it is recommended that these elements be considered in the planning and implementation of large-scale initiatives across healthcare delivery systems, both in Ireland and internationally.
    • Voices that matter: end-of-life care in two acute hospitals from the perspective of bereaved relatives.

      Donnelly, Sarah; Prizeman, Geraldine; Coimín, Diarmuid Ó; Korn, Bettina; Hynes, Geralyn (BMC Palliative Care, 2018-10-19)
      End-of-life care (EoLC) is an experience that touches the lives of everyone. Dying in an acute hospital is a common occurrence in developed countries across the world. Previous studies have shown that there is wide variation in EoLC and at times is experienced as being of poor quality. Assessing and measuring the quality of care provided is a key component of all healthcare systems. This paper reports on the qualitative analysis of open-ended free text questions that were asked as part of a post-bereavement survey conducted in two adult acute hospitals in Ireland. This was a quantitative descriptive post-bereavement postal survey, gathering data retrospectively from relatives or friends of patients who died, utilising an adapted version of the VOICES (Views of Informal Carers - Evaluation of Services) questionnaire. VOICES MaJam has 29 core questions, seven questions requesting personal demographic information and four open-ended questions gathering descriptive data about the care experience during the patient's last admission to hospital. A total of 356 valid questionnaires were returned. Qualitative data were managed, coded and analysed with NVivo 10, using a template analysis framework approach. Three quarters (75%: n = 268) responded to at least one of the open-ended questions. Several key themes emerged, indicating areas that require particular attention in EoLC. Two themes relate to how care needs are met and how the hospital environment has a critical influence on EoLC experiences. The remaining three themes relate more to the interpersonal context including whether patients are treated with dignity and respect, the psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their family members and communication. Acute hospitals need to ensure that patients and their relatives receive high quality EoLC. Seeking the views of bereaved relatives should be considered by all hospitals and healthcare settings to ascertain the quality of care at end of life. This study contributes to our understanding and knowledge of what good EoLC looks like and where care can be improved, thus enabling hospitals to direct and inform quality improvement.