Foot ulcers are a significant problem for people with diabetes. Comprehensive assessments of risk factors associated with diabetic foot ulcer are recommended in clinical guidelines to decrease complications such as prolonged healing, gangrene and amputations, and to promote effective management. However, the translation of clinical guidelines into nursing practice remains fragmented and inconsistent, and a recent homecare chart audit showed less than half the recommended risk factors for diabetic foot ulcers were assessed, and peripheral neuropathy (the most significant predictor of complications) was not assessed at all.
Strong leadership is consistently described as significant to successfully transfer guidelines into practice. Limited research exists however regarding which leadership behaviours facilitate and support implementation in nursing.
The purpose of this pilot study is to evaluate the impact of a leadership intervention in community nursing on implementing recommendations from a clinical guideline on the nursing assessment and management of diabetic foot ulcers.
Two phase mixed methods design is proposed (ISRCTN 12345678). Phase I: Descriptive qualitative to understand barriers to implementing the guideline recommendations, and to inform the intervention. Phase II: Matched pair cluster randomized controlled trial (n = 4 centers) will evaluate differences in outcomes between two implementation strategies. Primary outcome: Nursing assessments of client risk factors, a composite score of 8 items based on Diabetes/Foot Ulcer guideline recommendations.
Intervention: In addition to the organization's 'usual' implementation strategy, a 12 week leadership strategy will be offered to managerial and clinical leaders consisting of: a) printed materials, b) one day interactive workshop to develop a leadership action plan tailored to barriers to support implementation; c) three post-workshop teleconferences.
This study will provide vital information on which leadership strategies are well received to facilitate and support guideline implementation. The anticipated outcomes will provide information to assist with effective management of foot ulcers for people with diabetes.
By tracking clinical outcomes associated with guideline implementation, health care administrators will be better informed to influence organizational and policy decision-making to support evidence-based quality care. Findings will be useful to inform the design of future multi-centered trials on various clinical topics to enhance knowledge translation for positive outcomes.
Current Control Trials ISRCTN06910890