Interventionist training and intervention fidelity monitoring and maintenance for CONNECT, a nurse-led primary palliative care in oncology trial

Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2018 Mar 15;10:57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2018.03.006. eCollection 2018 Jun.


Context: Intervention fidelity is a critical component of behavioral research that has received inadequate attention in palliative care studies. With increasing focus on the need for palliative care models that can be widely disseminated and delivered by non-specialists, rigorous yet pragmatic strategies for training interventionists and maintaining intervention fidelity are needed.

Objectives: (1) Describe components of a plan for interventionist training and monitoring and maintaining intervention fidelity as part of a primary palliative care trial (CONNECT) and (2) present data about perceived training effectiveness and delivery of key intervention content.

Methods: Post-training evaluations, visit checklists, and visit audio-recordings.

Results: Data were collected from June, 2016 through April, 2017. We include procedures for (1) identification, training and certification of oncology nurses as CONNECT interventionists; (2) monitoring intervention delivery; and (3) maintaining intervention quality. All nurses (N = 14) felt prepared to deliver key competencies after a 3-day in-person training. As assessed via visit checklists, interventionists delivered an average of 94% (SD 13%) of key content for first intervention visits and 85% (SD 14%) for subsequent visits. As assessed via audio-recordings, interventionists delivered an average of 85% (SD 8%) of key content for initial visits and 85% (SD 12%) for subsequent visits.

Conclusion: We present a 3-part strategy for training interventionists and monitoring and maintaining intervention delivery in a primary palliative care trial. Training was effective in having nurses feel prepared to deliver primary palliative care skills. As assessed via nursing checklists and visit audio-recordings, intervention fidelity was high.

Keywords: CONNECT; Intervention fidelity; Oncology nursing; Primary palliative care.