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DEveloping a Complex Intervention for DEteriorating Patients using Theoretical Modelling (DECIDE study): study protocol

Smith, D., Francis, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-8895 & Aitken, L. M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5722-9090 (2019). DEveloping a Complex Intervention for DEteriorating Patients using Theoretical Modelling (DECIDE study): study protocol. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 75(9), pp. 2024-2035. doi: 10.1111/jan.14076


AIM: To develop a theory-based complex intervention (targeting nursing staff), to enhance enablers and overcome barriers to enacting expected behaviour when monitoring patients and responding to abnormal vital signs that signal deterioration.

DESIGN: A mixed method design including structured observations on hospital wards, field notes, brief, un-recorded interviews and semi-structured interviews to inform the development of an intervention to enhance practice.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with nursing staff using a topic guide informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework. Semi-structured interviews will be transcribed verbatim and coded deductively into the 14 Theoretical Domains Framework domains and then inductively into 'belief statements'. Priority domains will be identified and mapped to appropriate behaviour change techniques. Intervention content and mode of delivery (how behaviour change techniques are operationalised) will be developed using nominal groups, during which participants (clinicians) will rank behaviour change techniques /mode of delivery combinations according to acceptability and feasibility. Findings will be synthesised to develop an intervention manual.

DISCUSSION: Despite being a priority for clinicians, researchers and policymakers for two decades, 'sub-optimal care' of the deteriorating ward patient persists. Existing interventions have been largely educational (i.e., targeting assumed knowledge deficits) with limited evidence that they change staff behaviour. Staff behaviour when monitoring and responding to abnormal vital signs is likely influenced by a range of mediators that includes barriers and enablers.

IMPACT: Systematically applying theory and evidence-based methods, will result in the specification of an intervention which is more likely to result in behaviour change and can be tested empirically in future research. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Smith, D. , Francis, J. J. and Aitken, L. M. (2019), DEveloping a Complex Intervention for DEteriorating Patients using Theoretical Modelling (DECIDE study): study protocol. J Adv Nurs., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: behaviour, nursing, deteriorating patient, national early warning score (news), rapid response system, afferent limb failure, theoretical domains framework (tdf), focused observation
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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