Skip to main content

01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Medical Research Methodology 1/2014

Developing and evaluating interventions that are applicable and relevant to inpatients and those who care for them; a multiphase, pragmatic action research approach

BMC Medical Research Methodology > Ausgabe 1/2014
Jack J Bell, Tony Rossi, Judith D Bauer, Sandra Capra
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2288-14-98) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare they have no competing interests. The lead author is a doctoral candidate investigating barriers and enablers to nutrition care in hip fracture inpatients.

Authors’ contributions

JJB conceived the study and was the primary contributor to study design, data entry, analysis and interpretation and manuscript drafting and review. TR contributed to study design and manuscript drafting. JDB and SC also contributed to study design and data interpretation. All authors critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content and have approved the final manuscript.



Randomised controlled trials may be of limited use to evaluate the multidisciplinary and multimodal interventions required to effectively treat complex patients in routine clinical practice; pragmatic action research approaches may provide a suitable alternative.


A multiphase, pragmatic, action research based approach was developed to identify and overcome barriers to nutritional care in patients admitted to a metropolitan hospital hip-fracture unit.


Four sequential action research cycles built upon baseline data including 614 acute hip-fracture inpatients and 30 purposefully sampled clinicians. Reports from Phase I identified barriers to nutrition screening and assessment. Phase II reported post-fracture protein-energy intakes and intake barriers. Phase III built on earlier results; an explanatory mixed-methods study expanded and explored additional barriers and facilitators to nutritional care. Subsequent changes to routine clinical practice were developed and implemented by the treating team between Phase III and IV. These were implemented as a new multidisciplinary, multimodal nutritional model of care. A quasi-experimental controlled, ‘before-and-after’ study was then used to compare the new model of care with an individualised nutritional care model. Engagement of the multidisciplinary team in a multiphase, pragmatic action research intervention doubled energy and protein intakes, tripled return home discharge rates, and effected a 75% reduction in nutritional deterioration during admission in a reflective cohort of hip-fracture inpatients.


This approach allowed research to be conducted as part of routine clinical practice, captured a more representative patient cohort than previously reported studies, and facilitated exploration of barriers and engagement of the multidisciplinary healthcare workers to identify and implement practical solutions. This study demonstrates substantially different findings to those previously reported, and is the first to demonstrate that multidisciplinary, multimodal nutrition care reduces intake barriers, delivers a higher proportional increase in protein and energy intake compared with baseline than other published intervention studies, and improves patient outcomes when compared with individualised nutrition care. The findings are considered highly relevant to clinical practice and have high translation validity. The authors strongly encourage the development of similar study designs to investigate complex health problems in elderly, multi-morbid patient populations as a way to evaluate and change clinical practice.
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2014

BMC Medical Research Methodology 1/2014 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet AINS

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update AINS und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.