We have the programme, what next? Planning the implementation of an injury prevention programme

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Abstract

Background and aim

The impact of any injury prevention programme is a function of the programme and its implementation. However, real world implementation of injury prevention programmes is challenging. Lower limb injuries (LLIs) are common in community Australian football (community-AF) and it is likely that many could be prevented by implementing exercise-based warm-up programmes for players. This paper describes a systematic, evidence-informed approach used to develop the implementation plan for a LLI prevention programme in community-AF in Victoria, Australia.

Methods

An ecological approach, using Step 5 of the Intervention Mapping health promotion programme planning protocol, was taken.

Results

An implementation advisory group was established to ensure the implementation plan and associated strategies were relevant to the local context. Coaches were identified as the primary programme adopters and implementers within an ecological system including players, other coaches, first-aid providers, and club and league administrators. Social Cognitive Theory was used to identify likely determinants of programme reach, adoption and implementation among coaches (eg, knowledge, beliefs, skills and environment). Diffusion of Innovations theory, the Implementation Drivers framework and available research evidence were used to identify potential implementation strategies including the use of multiple communication channels, programme resources, coach education and mentoring.

Conclusions

A strategic evidence-informed approach to implementing interventions will help maximise their population impact. The approach to implementation planning described in this study relied on an effective researcher-practitioner partnership and active engagement of stakeholders. The identified implementation strategies were informed by theory, evidence and an in-depth understanding of the implementation context.

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