For those of you interested in health education, applied psychology or physical activity promotion, read on.
Last week I attended the annual Intervention Mapping course at Maastricht University, which provides a framework for decision-making when planning, conducting and evaluating complex interventions. As a physiologist and early career researcher the course introduced me to using a theory-led, systematic approach when devising multidisciplinary interventions. From my perspective, what to consider when planning an exercise/physical activity programme to improve mobility (and holistically quality of life) for frail older adults living in care home residences. Intervention Mapping comprises the following steps:
- Needs assessments (or logic model of the problem)
- Specifying the ‘change objectives’
- Programme design
- themes and components
- theory- and evidence-based methods for change
- practical application
- Programme production
- Implementation plan
- Evaluation plan
It should be noted that this framework relates mainly to collaborative healthcare projects, involving multidisciplinary team-working with individuals that may include: behavioural scientists, physiologists, Allied health professionals, care home staff and council officials.
As a ‘cog in a wheel’ (i.e. physiologist working within healthcare teams), personally Intervention Mapping has influenced my methodological perspective and will inform my long-term research, but will have little impact in the short-term for laboratory-based studies. For the behavioural scientist or applied psychologist interested in health promotion, the course would be a great benefit. For everyone else considering healthcare projects incorporating behaviour change I wholeheartedly recommend. Plus, Maastricht is a cultural and gastronomical delight.
If you would like further information on the course and framework, let me know.
Dr James Gavin
Department of Sport and Physical Activity