Agents of change: establishing quality improvement collaboratives to improve adherence to Australian clinical guidelines for dementia care
Fitzgerald, Janna A
Kurrle, Susan E
Cameron, Ian D
Whitehead, Craig Hamilton
de la Perrelle, Lenore
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Background Dissemination of clinical practice guidelines alone is insufficient to create meaningful change in clinical practice. Quality improvement collaborative models have potential to address the evidence-practice gap in dementia care because they capitalise on known knowledge translation enablers and incorporate optimal approaches to implementation. Non-pharmacological interventions focused on promoting independence are effective and favoured by people with dementia and their carers but are not routinely implemented. The objective of this translational project is to assess the impact of quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) on adherence to non-pharmacological recommendations from the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Dementia in Australia. Methods This project will employ an interrupted time-series design with process evaluation to assess the impact, uptake, feasibility, accessibility, cost, and sustainability of the QICs over 18 months. Thirty clinicians from across Australia will be invited to join the QICs to build their capacity in leading innovation in dementia care. Clinicians will participate in a training program and be supported to develop and implement a quality improvement project unique to their service context using plan-do-study-act cycles. Regular online meetings with their peers in the QIC will facilitate benchmarking and problem-solving. Clinicians will describe their practice via monthly checklists, and guideline adherence will be determined against a set of defined criteria. Phone interviews with up to 180 client dyads will be used to assess satisfaction with care and client outcomes. Clinician interviews and field note data will be used to explore implementation and costs. Involvement of people with dementia and carers will be embedded in the study design, conduct, and reporting, in addition to clinical and industry expertise. Discussion The quality of dementia care in Australia is largely dependent on the clinician involved and the extent to which they apply best available evidence in their practice. This study will determine the elements of this multifaceted implementation strategy that contributed to guideline adherence and client outcomes. The findings will inform future translational approaches to improving care and outcomes for people with dementia and their carers.
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