There are least two obvious purposes for studying health professionals (HPs) in behavior change interventions: 1) to assess treatment fidelity, i.e. to what extent was the intervention delivered as intended, and 2) to gain knowledge about how HP's learn and use new clinical skills. This presentation focuses on the second purpose.
To support health behaviors such as physical activity, HPs' physiological and medical knowledge needs to be complemented with knowledge to support motivational and self-regulation in patients trying to change their habits. However, changing behavior in HP's may be challenging and several barriers within and outside the individual HP have been identified.
In 2010 we launched an out-sourced program over two years to implement health-enhancing physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). During the first year, 12 physical therapists (PT's) guided 220 participants to increased physical activity using public gyms and support groups. The PT's were to guide in several behavior change techniques: a) goal-setting, b) action planning, c) self-monitoring, d) relapse prevention, e) give feedback on physical activity and f) promote social support within the groups to prepare the participants for being in charge of the group sessions during the second year of the program.
Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to assess how behavior change techniques were used by PT's and adopted by participants. The results indicate that PT's perceived initial challenges but gradually, assisted by education and feedback, adopted practices that facilitated their use of behavior change techniques. The participants reported the content of the program to be feasible, emphasizing the type of exercise and setting, as well as professional coaching. However, stringent use of goal-setting, action planning and follow-up of self-monitoring was not fully implemented and may need more tailoring to individual needs.
Disclosure of Interest None declared