Influences of post-implementation factors on the sustainability, sustainment, and intra-organizational spread of complex interventions

  • Yuting Song ((University of Alberta) (Creator)
  • Lauren MacEachern ((University of Toronto) (Creator)
  • Malcolm B. Doupe (University of Manitoba) (Creator)
  • Liane Ginsburg (York St John University) (Creator)
  • Stephanie A. Chamberlain ((University of Alberta) (Creator)
  • Lisa Cranley ((University of Toronto) (Creator)
  • Adam Easterbrook (St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver) (Creator)
  • Matthias Hoben ((University of Alberta) (Creator)
  • Jennifer Knopp-Sihota (Creator)
  • R. Colin Reid (University of British Columbia) (Creator)
  • Adrian Wagg ((University of Alberta) (Creator)
  • Carole A. Estabrooks ((University of Alberta) (Creator)
  • Janice M. Keefe (Mount Saint Vincent University) (Creator)
  • Tim Rappon ((University of Toronto) (Creator)
  • Whitney B. Berta ((University of Toronto) (Creator)



Abstract Background Complex interventions are increasingly applied to healthcare problems. Understanding of post-implementation sustainment, sustainability, and spread of interventions is limited. We examine these phenomena for a complex quality improvement initiative led by care aides in 7 care homes (long-term care homes) in Manitoba, Canada. We report on factors influencing these phenomena two years after implementation. Methods Data were collected in 2019 via small group interviews with unit- and care home-level managers (n = 11) from 6 of the 7 homes using the intervention. Interview participants discussed post-implementation factors that influenced continuing or abandoning core intervention elements (processes, behaviors) and key intervention benefits (outcomes, impact). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed with thematic analysis. Results Sustainment of core elements and sustainability of key benefits were observed in 5 of the 6 participating care homes. Intra-unit intervention spread occurred in 3 of 6 homes. Factors influencing sustainment, sustainability, and spread related to intervention teams, unit and care home, and the long-term care system. Conclusions Our findings contribute understanding on the importance of micro-, meso-, and macro-level factors to sustainability of key benefits and sustainment of some core processes. Inter-unit spread relates exclusively to meso-level factors of observability and practice change institutionalization. Interventions should be developed with post-implementation sustainability in mind and measures taken to protect against influences such as workforce instability and competing internal and external demands. Design should anticipate need to adapt interventions to strengthen post-implementation traction.
Date made available2022

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