Twice-weekly supervised aerobic and resistance exercise for 12 weeks reduces fatigue and improves quality of life in men on Androgen Deprivation Therapy for prostate cancer. Despite the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) proposing this as standard of care, it does not routinely take place in practice. Healthcare professionals are in a prime position to deliver and integrate these recommendations. A change in the behaviour of clinical teams is therefore required.
In this paper, we describe the development of a training package for healthcare professionals using theory and evidence to promote delivery of such recommendations as standard care.
The intervention development process was guided by the Medical Research Council guidance for complex interventions and the Behaviour Change Wheel. Target behaviours were identified from the literature and thirty-five prostate cancer care healthcare professionals (including oncologists, consultant urologists, clinical nurse specialists, physiotherapists, general practitioners and commissioners) were interviewed to understand influences on these behaviours. The Theoretical Domains Framework was used to identify theoretical constructs for change. Behaviour change techniques were selected based on theory and evidence and were translated into intervention content. The intervention was refined with the input of stakeholders including healthcare professionals, patients, and exercise professionals in the form of rehearsal deliveries, focus groups and a workshop.
Seven modifiable healthcare professional target behaviours were identified to support the delivery of the NICE recommendations including identifying eligible patients suitable for exercise, recommending exercise, providing information, exercise referral, providing support and interpret and feedback on progress. Ten domains from the Theoretical Domain’s Framework were identified as necessary for change, including improving knowledge and skills, addressing beliefs about consequences, and targeting social influences. These were targeted through twenty-two behaviour change techniques delivered in a half-day, interactive training package. Based on initial feedback from stakeholders, the intervention was refined in preparation for evaluation.
We designed an intervention based on theory, evidence, and stakeholder feedback to promote and support the delivery of NICE recommendations. Future work will aim to test this training package in a multi-centre randomised trial. If proven effective, the development and training package will provide a template for replication in other clinical populations, where exercise has proven efficacy but is insufficiently implemented.