As part of the COAD-study two home-based bimanual training programs for young children with unilateral Cerebral Palsy (uCP) have been developed, both consisting of a preparation phase and a home-based training phase. Parents are coached to use either an explicit or implicit motor learning approach while teaching bimanual activities to their child. A process evaluation of these complex interventions is crucial in order to draw accurate conclusions and provide recommendations for implementation in clinical practice and further research. The aim of the process evaluation is to systematically assess fidelity of the home-based training programs, to examine the mechanisms that contribute to their effects on child-related and parent-related outcomes, and to explore the influence of contextual factors.
A mixed methods embedded design is used that emerges from a pragmatism paradigm. The qualitative strand involves a generic qualitative approach. The process evaluation components fidelity (quality), dose delivered (completeness), dose received (exposure and satisfaction), recruitment and context will be investigated. Data collection includes registration of attendance of therapists and remedial educationalists to a course regarding the home-based training programs; a questionnaire to evaluate this course by the instructor; a report form concerning the preparation phase to be completed by the therapist; registration and video analyses of the home-based training; interviews with parents and questionnaires to be filled out by the therapist and remedial educationalist regarding the process of training; and focus groups with therapists and remedial educationalists as well as registration of drop-out rates and reasons, to evaluate the overall home-based training programs. Inductive thematic analysis will be used to analyse qualitative data. Qualitative and quantitative findings are merged through meta-inference.
So far, effects of home-based training programs in paediatric rehabilitation have been studied without an extensive process evaluation. The findings of this process evaluation will have implications for clinical practice and further research regarding development and application of home-based bimanual training programs, executed by parents and aimed at improving activity performance and participation of children with uCP.