Background The CHErIsH Choosing Healthy Eating for Infant Health intervention is a brief intervention to be delivered during routine vaccination visits, to improve healthy infant feeding behaviours among parents to help reduce the risk of childhood obesity. An accompanying implementation strategy was designed to support delivery of CHErIsH by healthcare practitioners (HCPs) delivering the intervention. This strategy included appointing a local opinion leader and providing two incentivised training sessions and educational materials. The aim of this study was to examine the acceptability and feasibility of this HCP-level implementation strategy.
Methods A mixed-methods approach using qualitative and quantitative methods was used to investigate the acceptability and feasibility of the HCP-level implementation strategy. HCPs were recruited from three practices within a Healthcare Centre involved in the implementation of the intervention. Data were collected using researcher observations and field notes; HCP checklists, questionnaires and focus groups with Practice Nurses (PNs) and General Practitioners (GPs). Thematic analysis of qualitative data and statistical analysis of quantitative data is on-going.
Results Of the 21 HCPs involved in the implementation strategy, 18 (85.7%) completed both the pre and post-training questionnaires (GPs=9; PNs=9). Prior to training, 88% of HCPs considered discussing infant feeding as part of their professional role; however, only 44% reported feeling confident in doing so, with no HCPs discussing infant feeding at 4 and 6 months. The most common source of infant feeding information reported by HCPs included health service leaflets, discussions with colleagues and information leaflets from infant formula manufacturers. After training, all HCPs considered infant feeding to be part of their professional role, with 31% now discussing infant feeding with parents for infants aged 4 and 6 months. Qualitative data indicate that HCPs felt that both training sessions which provided resources and educational materials, were ‘useful and very productive’.
Conclusion CHErIsH training sessions delivered as part of the implementation strategy were considered acceptable and feasible by the HCPs, and improved their confidence in providing infant feeding advice. These training sessions, which include information on current national feeding guidelines and feeding issues, should be delivered as part of routine HCP training. This will ensure that all HCPs have evidence-based training to support the delivery of consistent infant feeding messages at infant vaccination visits in primary care practice.
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