Implementation fidelity of the Systems for Person-Centered Elder Care (SPEC): a process evaluation study

Implement Sci. 2021 May 12;16(1):52. doi: 10.1186/s13012-021-01113-3.


Background: The Systems for Person-Centered Elder Care (SPEC), a complex intervention, was conducted to examine its effectiveness as a technology-enhanced, multidisciplinary, and integrated care model for frail older persons among ten nursing homes (NHs) in South Korea where formal long-term care has recently been introduced. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implementation fidelity of the SPEC intervention and to identify moderating factors that influence the implementation fidelity.

Methods: This study was a process evaluation based on an evidence-based framework for implementation fidelity using a mixed-methods design. Quantitative data from consultant logbooks, NH documentations, an information and communications technology (ICT) system, and a standardized questionnaire were collected from April 2015 to December 2016 and analyzed by calculating the descriptive statistics. Semi-structured focus group interviews were held with multidisciplinary teams from the participating NHs. Qualitative data from a semi-structured questionnaire and the focus group interviews were analyzed using content analysis.

Results: The SPEC program demonstrated good implementation fidelity, and adherence to the SPEC program was strong in all aspects, such as content, coverage, frequency, and duration. Of the participating on-site coordinators, 60% reported that the SPEC model positively impacted needs assessment and the reporting system for resident care. The important facilitating factors were tailored facilitating strategies, assurance of the quality of delivery, and recruitment strategies.

Conclusion: The effectiveness of the SPEC program was driven by good implementation fidelity. The key factors of good implementation fidelity were tailored delivery of evidence-based interventions over process evaluation work, facilitating strategies, and ICT support. Larger implementation studies with a more user-friendly ICT system are recommended.

Trial registration: ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN11972147 . Registered on 16 March 2015.

Keywords: Evaluation; Geriatric care model; Long-term care; Process evaluation; Technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Republic of Korea

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN11972147