Evaluation of the Ask-Inform-Manage-Encourage-Refer Intervention and Its Implementation Targeting the Provision of Mental Wellbeing Support Within the Audiology Setting

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The ask, inform, manage, encourage, refer (AIMER) program is a behavior change intervention designed to increase the frequency with which hearing healthcare clinicians (HHCs) ask about and provide information regarding mental wellbeing within adult audiology services. The objective of this study was to systematically evaluate the first iteration of the AIMER program to determine whether the intervention achieved the changes in HHC behaviors anticipated and to evaluate feasibility of implementing the AIMER program based on the implementation protocol.

DESIGN: The Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework was used to guide this evaluation. Data were collected from October 2020 to February 2022 and included both quantitative and qualitative measures (i.e., observation reports, staff surveys, clinical diaries, clinical file audits, and interviews).

RESULTS: Comparison between pre- and post-implementation data showed that the AIMER intervention successfully increased: (i) HHC's skills and confidence for discussing mental wellbeing; (ii) how often HHCs ask about mental wellbeing within audiology consultations; (iii) how often HHCs provide personalized information and support regarding mental wellbeing within audiology consultations; and (iv) how often HHCs use mental wellbeing terms within clinical case notes and general practitioner reports. The factors affecting feasibility of implementing the AIMER program within the clinical setting could be classified into three major categories: (i) the AIMER program itself and its way of delivery to clinical staff; (ii) people working with the AIMER program; and (iii) contextual factors. Key recommendations to improve future implementation of the AIMER program were provided by the participants.

CONCLUSIONS: The AIMER program was shown to be effective at increasing the frequency with which HHCs ask about and provide information regarding mental wellbeing within routine audiological service delivery. Implementation of the AIMER program was feasible but leaves room for improvement. Use of the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance framework facilitated systematic evaluation of multiple indicators providing a broad evaluation of the AIMER program. Our analysis helps to better understand the optimal levels of training and facilitation and provides recommendations to improve future scale-up of the AIMER program. The findings of this study will be used to further adapt and improve the AIMER program and to enhance program implementation strategies before its further dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-616
Number of pages17
JournalEar and Hearing
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

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