A codesigned fit-for-purpose implementation framework for aged care

J Eval Clin Pract. 2022 Jun;28(3):421-435. doi: 10.1111/jep.13660. Epub 2022 Feb 6.

Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives: The field of implementation science is critical for embedding research evidence into healthcare practice, benefiting individuals, organizations, governments, and the broader community. Implementation science is messy and complex, underpinned by many theories and frameworks. Efficacious interventions for older people with multiple comorbidities exist, yet many lack effectiveness evaluation relevant to pragmatic implementation within aged care practice. This article outlines the conceptualization and development of an Implementation Framework for Aged Care (IFAC), fit-for-purpose for an aged care organization, Bolton Clarke, intent on embedding evidence into practice.

Method: A four-stage process was adopted to (1) explore context and relevant literature to conceptualize the IFAC; (2) identify key elements for a draft IFAC; (3) expand elements and refine the draft in consultation with experts and (4) apply the IFAC to three existing projects, identifying key learnings. A checklist to operationalize the IFAC was then developed.

Results: The IFAC is grounded in codesign principles and encapsulated by the implementation context, from a social, cultural and political perspective. The IFAC addresses the questions of (1) why do we need to change?; (2) what do we know?; (3) who will benefit?; (4) who will make the change?; (5) what strategies will be used?; and (6) what difference are we making? Three pilot projects: early adoption of a Wellness and Reablement approach; a care worker and virtual physiotherapist-led program to prevent falls; and a therapeutic horticulture program for residential communities, highlight learnings of applying the IFAC in practice.

Conclusion: This fit-for-purpose IFAC was developed for a proactive and responsive aged care provider. The simplicity of the six-question IFAC is underpinned by substantial theoretical perspectives for its elements and their connections. This complexity is then consolidated into an 18-question checklist to operationalize the IFAC, necessary to advance the translation of evidence into clinical practice.

Keywords: health services research; healthcare.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Humans
  • Implementation Science*
  • Referral and Consultation