UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Factors that influence implementation at scale of a community-based health promotion intervention for older adults Sims-Gould, Joanie; McKay, Heather Anne, 1954-; Hoy, Christa L.; Nettlefold, Lindsay; Gray, Samantha M.; Lau, Erica Y.; Bauman, Adrian


Background: Despite the many known benefits of physical activity (PA), relatively few older adults are active on a regular basis. Older adult PA interventions delivered in controlled settings showed promising results. However, to achieve population level health impact, programs must be effectively scaled-up, and few interventions have achieved this. To effectively scale-up it is essential to identify contextual factors that facilitate or impede implementation at scale. Our aim is to describe factors that influence implementation at scale of a health promotion intervention for older adults (Choose to Move). This implementation evaluation complements our previously published study that assessed the impact of Choose to Move on older adult health indicators. Methods: To describe factors that influenced implementation our evaluation targeted five distinct levels across a socioecological continuum. Four members of our project team conducted semi-structured interviews by telephone with 1) leaders of delivery partner organizations (n = 13) 2) recreation managers (n = 6), recreation coordinators (n = 27), activity coaches (n = 36) and participants (n = 42) [August 2015 – April 2017]. Interviews were audio-recorded and professionally transcribed and data were analyzed using framework analysis. Results: Partners agreed on the timeliness and need for scaled-up evidence-based health promotion programs for older adults. Choose to Move aligned with organizational priorities, visions and strategic directions and was deemed easy to deliver, flexible and adaptable. Partners also noted the critical role played by our project team as the support unit. However, partners noted availability of financial resources as a potential barrier to sustainability. Conclusions: Even relatively simple evidence-based interventions can be challenging to scale-up and sustain. To ensure successful implementation it is essential to align with multilevel socioecological perspectives and assess the vast array of contextual factors that are at the core of better understanding successful implementation.

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