• The contribution of qualitative research in designing a complex intervention for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in two different healthcare systems.

      Corrrigan, Mairead; Cupples, Margaret E; Smith, Susan M; Byrne, Molly; Leathem, Claire S; Clerkin, Pauline; Murphy, Andrew W; Division of Medical Education, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. m.corrigan@qub.ac.uk (2006)
      BACKGROUND: Developing complex interventions for testing in randomised controlled trials is of increasing importance in healthcare planning. There is a need for careful design of interventions for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). It has been suggested that integrating qualitative research in the development of a complex intervention may contribute to optimising its design but there is limited evidence of this in practice. This study aims to examine the contribution of qualitative research in developing a complex intervention to improve the provision and uptake of secondary prevention of CHD within primary care in two different healthcare systems. METHODS: In four general practices, one rural and one urban, in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, patients with CHD were purposively selected. Four focus groups with patients (N = 23) and four with staff (N = 29) informed the development of the intervention by exploring how it could be tailored and integrated with current secondary prevention activities for CHD in the two healthcare settings. Following an exploratory trial the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention were discussed in four focus groups (17 patients) and 10 interviews (staff). The data were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Integrating qualitative research into the development of the intervention provided depth of information about the varying impact, between the two healthcare systems, of different funding and administrative arrangements, on their provision of secondary prevention and identified similar barriers of time constraints, training needs and poor patient motivation. The findings also highlighted the importance to patients of stress management, the need for which had been underestimated by the researchers. The qualitative evaluation provided depth of detail not found in evaluation questionnaires. It highlighted how the intervention needed to be more practical by minimising administration, integrating role plays into behaviour change training, providing more practical information about stress management and removing self-monitoring of lifestyle change. CONCLUSION: Qualitative research is integral to developing the design detail of a complex intervention and tailoring its components to address individuals' needs in different healthcare systems. The findings highlight how qualitative research may be a valuable component of the preparation for complex interventions and their evaluation.
    • Coping strategies and styles of family carers of persons with enduring mental illness: a mixed methods analysis.

      Kartalova-O'Doherty, Yulia; Doherty, Donna Tedstone; Health Research Board (HRB) (Health Research Board (HRB), 2008-03)
      A qualitative exploratory study investigated the experiences and needs of family carers of persons with enduring mental illness in Ireland. The current mixed-methods secondary study used content analysis and statistical procedures to identify and explore the coping strategies emerging from the original interviews. The majority of family carers reported use of active behavioural coping strategies, sometimes combined with active cognitive or avoidance strategies. The percentage of cares reporting use of active cognitive strategies was the lowest among those whose ill relative lived in their home, and the highest among those whose relative lived independently. Participants with identified active cognitive strategies often reported that their relative was employed or in training. Participants who reported use of avoidance strategies were significantly younger than participants who did not report use of such strategies. The lowest percentage of avoidance strategies was among participants whose ill relative lived independently, whereas the highest was among carers whose relative lived in their home. The findings of this study highlight the importance of a contextual approach to studying coping styles and processes. Further research questions and methodological implications are discussed.
    • Establishing a general practitioner led minor injury service: mixed methods evaluation at 10 months with an emphasis on use of radiology by GPs in the out-of-hours setting.

      Redmond, P; Darker, C; McDonnell, M; O'Shea, B; TCD/HSE General Practice Training Scheme, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Centre for Health Sciences, Tallaght Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland. predmond@rcsi.ie (Irish journal of medical science, 2013-06)
      A mixed methods study was conducted to evaluate a recently established general practitioner (GP) led minor injury (MI) service; it included a patient feedback study, a qualitative enquiry into the experience of the MI GPs, and analysis of use of radiology.
    • A walking programme and a supervised exercise class versus usual physiotherapy for chronic low back pain: a single-blinded randomised controlled trial. (The Supervised Walking In comparison to Fitness Training for Back Pain (SWIFT) Trial).

      Hurley, Deirdre A; O'Donoghue, Grainne; Tully, Mark A; Moffett, Jennifer Klaber; van Mechelen, Willem; Daly, Leslie; Boreham, Colin Ag; McDonough, Suzanne M; School of Physiotherapy & Performance Science, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland. deirdre.hurleyosing@ucd.ie (2009)
      BACKGROUND: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a persistent disabling condition with rising significant healthcare, social and economic costs. Current research supports the use of exercise-based treatment approaches that encourage people with CLBP to assume a physically active role in their recovery. While international clinical guidelines and systematic reviews for CLBP support supervised group exercise as an attractive first-line option for treating large numbers of CLBP patients at low cost, barriers to their delivery include space and time restrictions in healthcare settings and poor patient attendance. The European Clinical Guidelines have identified the need for research in the use of brief/minimal contact self-activation interventions that encourage participation in physical activity for CLBP. Walking may be an ideally suited form of individualized exercise prescription as it is easy to do, requires no special skills or facilities, and is achievable by virtually all ages with little risk of injury, but its effectiveness for LBP is unproven. METHODS AND DESIGN: This study will be an assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial that will investigate the difference in clinical effectiveness and costs of an individualized walking programme and a supervised general exercise programme compared to usual physiotherapy, which will act as the control group, in people with chronic low back pain. A sample of 246 patients will be recruited in Dublin, Ireland through acute general hospital outpatient physiotherapy departments that provide treatment for people with CLBP. Patients will be randomly allocated to one of the three groups in a concealed manner. The main outcomes will be functional disability, pain, quality of life, fear avoidance, back beliefs, physical activity, satisfaction and costs, which will be evaluated at baseline, and 3, 6 and 12 months [follow-up by pre-paid postage]. Qualitative telephone interviews and focus groups will be embedded in the research design to obtain feedback about participants' experiences of the interventions and trial participation, and to inform interpretation of the quantitative data. Planned analysis will be by intention to treat (quantitative data) and thematic analysis (qualitative data) DISCUSSION: The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a walking programme and a supervised general exercise programme compared to usual physiotherapy in people with CLBP. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current controlled trial ISRCTN17592092.