Sustainment of Innovations in Palliative Care: A Survey on Lessons Learned From a Nationwide Quality Improvement Program

Anke J. E. de Veer*, Margot A. H. Fleuren, Hille Voss, Anneke L. Francke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Context: Although much is known about factors influencing short-term implementation, little is known about what factors are relevant for the long-term sustainment of innovations. In the Dutch National Quality Improvement Program for Palliative Care, innovations were implemented in 76 implementation projects. Objectives: To give insight into the sustainment strategies used and factors facilitating and hindering sustainment. Methods: Online questionnaire with prestructured and open questions sent to the contact persons for 76 implementation projects, 2–6.5 years after the start. Results: Information was gathered on 63 implementation projects (response 83%). Most projects took place in home care, general practices, and/or nursing homes. Sustainment was attained in 60% of the implementation projects. Six often applied strategies were statistically significantly related to sustainment: 1) realizing coherence between the innovation and the strategic policy of the organization; 2) arranging to have a specific professional responsible for the use of the innovation; 3) integrating the innovation into the organization's broader palliative care policy; 4) arranging accessibility of the innovation; 5) involving management in the implementation project; and 6) giving regular feedback about the implementation. In three-quarters of the projects, barriers and facilitators were encountered relating to characteristics of the care organizations, such as employee turnover and ratification of the project by the management. Conclusion: Applying the six strategies enhances sustainment. The organization plays a decisive role in the sustainment of innovations in palliative care. Engaging the management team in implementation projects from early onset is of utmost importance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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