Background: Primary care (PC) patients have difficulties in committing to and incorporating primary prevention and health promotion (PP&HP) activities into their long-term care. We aimed to re-interpret, for the first time, qualitative findings regarding factors affecting PC patients' acceptance of PP&HP activities.
Methods and findings: A meta-ethnographic synthesis was generated following electronic and manual searches that retrieved 29 articles. Papers were reviewed and translated to produce a re-interpretation of the extracted concepts. The factors affecting PC patients' receptiveness to PP&HP activities were framed in a four-level ecological model (intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional and environment and society). Intrapersonal factors (patients' beliefs/attitudes, knowledge, skills, self-concept, motivation and resources) were the most numerous, with almost 25 different factors. Public health education to modify erroneous beliefs and values regarding PP&HP could encourage a transition to healthier lifestyles. Health care professionals' abilities to communicate and involve patients in the decision-making process can act as facilitators. Biopsychosocial training (with emphasis on communication skills) for health professionals must start with undergraduates. Increased consultation time, the use of reminders, follow-up visits and tools for communicating risk and motivating patients could be applied at the intrapersonal level. Collaborative care involving other health professionals (nutritionists or psychotherapists) and family and community stakeholders (teachers or gym trainers) was important in developing healthier habits. Patients also cited barriers related to the built environment and socioeconomic difficulties that highlighted the need for policies promoting social justice and equity. Encouraging PP&HP using social marketing strategies and regulating media to control its impact on health were also cited. Only the perspectives of PC patients in the context of chronic conditions were considered thus limiting extrapolation to other contexts.
Conclusions: Several factors affect PP&HP. This must be taken into account when designing PP&HP activities if they are to be successfully implemented and maintained in routine practice.