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      Adapting and implementing Caring Contacts in a Department of Veterans Affairs emergency department: a pilot study protocol

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          Suicide among veterans is a problem nationally, and suicide prevention remains a high priority for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Focusing suicide prevention initiatives in the emergency department setting provides reach to veterans who may not be seen in mental health and targets a critical risk period, transitions in care following discharge. Caring Contacts is a simple and efficacious suicide prevention approach that could be used to target this risk period. The purpose of this study is to (1) adapt Caring Contacts for use in a VA emergency department, (2) conduct a pilot program at a single VA emergency department, and (3) create an implementation toolkit to facilitate spread of Caring Contacts to other VA facilities.


          This project includes planning activities and a pilot at a VA emergency department. Planning activities will include determining available data sources, determining logistics for identifying and sending Caring Contacts, and creating an implementation toolkit. We will conduct qualitative interviews with emergency department staff and other key stakeholders to gather data on what is needed to adapt and implement Caring Contacts in a VA emergency department setting and possible barriers to and facilitators of implementation. An advisory board of key stakeholders in the facility will be created. Qualitative findings from interviews will be presented to the advisory board for discussion, and the board will use these data to inform decision making regarding implementation of the pilot. Once the pilot is underway, the advisory board will convene again to discuss ongoing progress and determine if any changes are needed to the implementation of the Caring Contacts intervention.


          Findings from the current project will inform future scale-up and spread of this innovation to other VA medical center emergency departments across the network and other networks. The current pilot will adapt Caring Contacts, create an implementation toolkit and implementation guide, evaluate the feasibility of gathering outcome measures, and provide information about what is needed to implement this evidence-based suicide prevention intervention in a VA emergency department.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Evaluating the public health impact of health promotion interventions: the RE-AIM framework.

          Progress in public health and community-based interventions has been hampered by the lack of a comprehensive evaluation framework appropriate to such programs. Multilevel interventions that incorporate policy, environmental, and individual components should be evaluated with measurements suited to their settings, goals, and purpose. In this commentary, the authors propose a model (termed the RE-AIM model) for evaluating public health interventions that assesses 5 dimensions: reach, efficacy, adoption, implementation, and maintenance. These dimensions occur at multiple levels (e.g., individual, clinic or organization, community) and interact to determine the public health or population-based impact of a program or policy. The authors discuss issues in evaluating each of these dimensions and combining them to determine overall public health impact. Failure to adequately evaluate programs on all 5 dimensions can lead to a waste of resources, discontinuities between stages of research, and failure to improve public health to the limits of our capacity. The authors summarize strengths and limitations of the RE-AIM model and recommend areas for future research and application.
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            Getting evidence into practice: the role and function of facilitation.

            This paper presents the findings of a concept analysis of facilitation in relation to successful implementation of evidence into practice. In 1998, we presented a conceptual framework that represented the interplay and interdependence of the many factors influencing the uptake of evidence into practice. One of the three elements of the framework was facilitation, alongside the nature of evidence and context. It was proposed that facilitators had a key role in helping individuals and teams understand what they needed to change and how they needed to change it. As part of the on-going development and refinement of the framework, the elements within it have undergone a concept analysis in order to provide theoretical and conceptual clarity. The concept analysis approach was used as a framework to review critically the research literature and seminal texts in order to establish the conceptual clarity and maturity of facilitation in relation to its role in the implementation of evidence-based practice. The concept of facilitation is partially developed and in need of delineation and comparison. Here, the purpose, role and skills and attributes of facilitators are explored in order to try and make distinctions between this role and other change agent roles such as educational outreach workers, academic detailers and opinion leaders. We propose that facilitation can be represented as a set of continua, with the purpose of facilitation ranging from a discrete task-focused activity to a more holistic process of enabling individuals, teams and organizations to change. A number of defining characteristics of facilitation are proposed. However, further research to clarify and evaluate different models of facilitation is required.
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              Strategies to enhance venous thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized medical patients (SENTRY): a pilot cluster randomized trial

              Background Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common preventable cause of mortality in hospitalized medical patients. Despite rigorous randomized trials generating strong recommendations for anticoagulant use to prevent VTE, nearly 40% of medical patients receive inappropriate thromboprophylaxis. Knowledge-translation strategies are needed to bridge this gap. Methods We conducted a 16-week pilot cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to determine the proportion of medical patients that were appropriately managed for thromboprophylaxis (according to the American College of Chest Physician guidelines) within 24 hours of admission, through the use of a multicomponent knowledge-translation intervention. Our primary goal was to determine the feasibility of conducting this study on a larger scale. The intervention comprised clinician education, a paper-based VTE risk assessment algorithm, printed physicians’ orders, and audit and feedback sessions. Medical wards at six hospitals (representing clusters) in Ontario, Canada were included; three were randomized to the multicomponent intervention and three to usual care (i.e., no active strategies for thromboprophylaxis in place). Blinding was not used. Results A total of 2,611 patients (1,154 in the intervention and 1,457 in the control group) were eligible and included in the analysis. This multicomponent intervention did not lead to a significant difference in appropriate VTE prophylaxis rates between intervention and control hospitals (appropriate management rate odds ratio = 0.80; 95% confidence interval: 0.50, 1.28; p = 0.36; intra-class correlation coefficient: 0.022), and thus was not considered feasible. Major barriers to effective knowledge translation were poor attendance by clinical staff at education and feedback sessions, difficulty locating preprinted orders, and lack of involvement by clinical and administrative leaders. We identified several factors that may increase uptake of a VTE prophylaxis strategy, including local champions, support from clinical and administrative leaders, mandatory use, and a simple, clinically relevant risk assessment tool. Conclusions Hospitals allocated to our multicomponent intervention did not have a higher rate of medical inpatients appropriately managed for thromboprophylaxis than did hospitals that were not allocated to this strategy.

                Author and article information

                Pilot Feasibility Stud
                Pilot Feasibility Stud
                Pilot and Feasibility Studies
                BioMed Central (London )
                10 October 2019
                10 October 2019
                : 5
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0419 1545, GRID grid.413916.8, QUERI for Team-Based Behavioral Healthcare, , Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, ; North Little Rock, AR USA
                [2 ]South Central Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Central Arkansas VA Health Care System, North Little Rock, AR USA
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 4687 1637, GRID grid.241054.6, Department of Psychiatry, , University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, ; Little Rock, AR USA
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0420 9231, GRID grid.484305.e, South Central VA Health Care Network, ; Ridgeland, MS USA
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0420 6540, GRID grid.413919.7, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, ; Tacoma, WA USA
                [6 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0419 1545, GRID grid.413916.8, Center for Mental Healthcare & Outcomes Research (CeMHOR), , Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, ; North Little Rock, AR USA
                [7 ]ISNI 0000000122986657, GRID grid.34477.33, University of Washington School of Medicine, ; Seattle, WA USA
                © The Author(s). 2019

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, Quality Enhancement Research Initiative;
                Award ID: PII 18-195
                Award Recipient :
                Study Protocol
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                © The Author(s) 2019


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