Process evaluation for the FEeding Support Team (FEST) randomised controlled feasibility trial of proactive and reactive telephone support for breastfeeding women living in disadvantaged areas — Hoddinott et al. 2 (2) — BMJ Open.
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Objective To assess the feasibility, acceptability and fidelity of a feeding team intervention with an embedded randomised controlled trial of team-initiated (proactive) and woman-initiated (reactive) telephone support after hospital discharge.
Design Participatory approach to the design and implementation of a pilot trial embedded within a before-and-after study, with mixed-method process evaluation.
Setting A postnatal ward in Scotland.
Sample Women initiating breast feeding and living in disadvantaged areas.
Methods Quantitative data: telephone call log and workload diaries. Qualitative data: interviews with women (n=40) with follow-up (n=11) and staff (n=17); ward observations 2 weeks before and after the intervention; recorded telephone calls (n=16) and steering group meetings (n=9); trial case notes (n=69); open question in a telephone interview (n=372). The Framework approach to analysis was applied to mixed-method data.
Main outcome measures Quantitative: telephone call characteristics (number, frequency, duration); workload activity. Qualitative: experiences and perspectives of women and staff.
Results A median of eight proactive calls per woman (n=35) with a median duration of 5 min occurred in the 14 days following hospital discharge. Only one of 34 control women initiated a call to the feeding team, with women undervaluing their own needs compared to others, and breast feeding as a reason to call. Proactive calls providing continuity of care increased women’s confidence and were highly valued. Data demonstrated intervention fidelity for woman-centred care; however, observing an entire breast feed was not well implemented due to short hospital stays, ward routines and staff–team–woman communication issues. Staff pragmatically recognised that dedicated feeding teams help meet women’s breastfeeding support needs in the context of overstretched and variable postnatal services.
Conclusions Implementing and integrating the FEeding Support Team (FEST) trial within routine postnatal care was feasible and acceptable to women and staff from a research and practice perspective and shows promise for addressing health inequalities.