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Exploring organisational readiness to implement a preventive intervention in Australian general practice for overweight and obese patients: key learnings from the HeLP-GP trial.

BACKGROUND: The HeLP-GP trial aimed to increase the capacity of practice nurses to deliver weight management to overweight and obese patients through an intervention comprising a health check, a lifestyle app and/or telephone coaching. This paper describes implementation through the lens of organisational readiness with emphasis on the role of the practice nurse.

METHODS: Routinely collected mixed method research data including practice surveys, field notes, and diaries and process data were mapped against the domains: motivation to implement, general capacity and intervention-specific capacity.

RESULTS: Organisational readiness varied considerably, particularly the domain of intervention-specific capacity. Practice nurse turnover negatively impacted the implementation, affecting half of the practices. We observed a general lack of practice-based support for intervention delivery, and varying levels of interest, skill and confidence in delivering the intervention. Nurses struggled to complete the research and intervention tasks in a timely way. Conducting risk assessments and referring to coaching were generally not problematic; however, we noted lower confidence levels with the lifestyle app and instructing patients to use it.

CONCLUSIONS: We found a lack of general 'readiness' inherent in the nursing role, particularly related to their capacity to complete intervention tasks and practice-level support to implement the intervention. For nurses in general practice to fulfil their potential in supporting patients to reduce risk and adopt healthier life choices, our study indicates that more could be done to improve their workforce positioning and remuneration, which may, in turn, improve continuity of care, retention and individual motivation.

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