Health promotion interventions to prevent early childhood human influenza at the household level: a realist review to identify implications for programmes in Hong Kong

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Abstract

Aims and objectives.

To identify factors affecting the delivery of health promotion interventions to prevent early childhood human influenza at the household level.

Background.

Yearly, influenza epidemics seriously affect all age groups, particularly those with weakened immune systems, including children. Influenza is transmitted easily from person to person through droplet and direct contact. Maintaining personal hygiene, avoiding close contact with the infected person and proper hand washing are recommended as the most effective means of preventing the transmission of influenza. However, it is not clear what programme-related mechanisms and contexts are crucial to the successful delivery of interventions in the home. This study systematically reviewed published research studies to identify factors influencing the effective delivery of health promotion programmes targeting influenza in a household.

Design.

Realist review.

Methods.

A realist review methodology was selected to examine what interventions are effective in preventing and managing influenza at the household level and in what circumstances. A structured search of the peer-reviewed primary research literature was undertaken using a defined search protocol.

Results.

Eight studies were retrieved for the analysis. Mechanisms impacting on intervention delivery were identified, including timing of implementation, programme reach, organisational and healthcare worker involvement, mode and place of delivery, contact with infected person, health practice compliance and sustainability at home.

Conclusion.

These findings suggest contextual factors that could be identified through ecological approaches to health promotion that are crucial for policymakers to consider when designing interventions.

Relevance to clinical practice.

The active involvement of community nurses through an integrated household visiting programme may help to better deliver family-based health promotion interventions to prevent illnesses such as influenza in children.

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