Implementation evaluation of staff support and wellbeing programmes at an academic health science centre during COVID-19: study protocol
Background Evidence from previous pandemics as well as early evidence from COVID-19 suggest risk of adverse mental health and wellbeing outcomes for healthcare workers. In response to these concerns, healthcare systems and organisations rapidly established staff support and wellbeing programmes. While there is emerging literature related to the effectiveness of such interventions, what is less well understood and evaluated is the evidence base regarding how such programmes are implemented; what
... e implemented; what supports and hinders their implementation; and how or if they are maintained following the initial acute phase of the pandemic. This study addresses this gap by studying the implementation process of COVID-19-related staff wellbeing programmes in the three UK NHS Trusts that make up one of Europe's largest academic health sciences centres, King's Health Partners. Methods We will conduct a prospective, cross-sectional descriptive study using qualitative research methods and non-probability purposive sampling to identify a study participant group representative of the population and implementation activity of interest. We will conduct semi-structured interviews of between 30 minutes and one hour. We will identify theory-driven elements in the dataset using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (barriers and drivers), Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment Framework (timeline/chronology/evolution of the implementation and different issues at different times) and Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (implementation strategies). We will then identify indicators of these constructs within the dataset and report them, as well as their inter-relationships. Discussion Through this study we hope to better understand what factors hindered and enabled the implementation of three inter-linked staff support and wellbeing programmes, and how/to what extent have these programmes been sustained. We will also explore whether implementation science frameworks are applicable and beneficial in conceptualising and understanding crisis driven and rapidly implemented interventions, and in what ways, if any, they need to be adjusted when used in unprecedented circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.