Background: Lifestyle and behaviour change are important factors in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and reduction of premature mortality. Public health initiatives have focused on opportunities for healthcare staff to deliver lifestyle advice routinely in primary and secondary care but there is no consistent approach to onward referrals and the rate of uptake of advice remains low. We do not know if advice is more effective in supporting behaviour change when a systematic approach is taken that includes identification of barriers to change, directing patients toward services, referral to services, and feedback on outcome.
Methods and design: This is a single-centre, randomized, unblinded feasibility trial in an acute hospital setting which aims to assess the feasibility of a definitive trial and provide proof of concept for the systematic delivery of individualized lifestyle advice in patients managed through an acute cardiology in-patient service.Patients will be recruited before discharge and randomized to two groups. A control group will receive the usual lifestyle assessment and referral, while an intervention group will receive the usual assessment plus the new individualized lifestyle assessment and referral. The new assessment will inform assignment of each patient to one of three categories based on personal barriers to change. Patients may be referred to a formal lifestyle-change programme, through the 'Leeds Let's Change' website, or they may be guided in self-management, using goal setting, or they may be assigned to a 'deferment' category, for reassessment at follow-up. These latter patients will be given a contact card for the 'Leeds Let's Change' service.
Discussion: Lifestyle change is an important mechanism for improving health and wellbeing across the population but there are widely acknowledged difficulties in addressing lifestyle factors with patients and supporting behaviour change. A systematic approach to assessment would facilitate audit and provide an indicator of the quality of care. The new assessment template has been designed to be quick and easy to use in practice and could, for example, be added to a primary care consultation or form part of a nursing discharge assessment in an acute setting.
Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN41781196.