What helped and hindered implementation of an intervention package to reduce smoking in pregnancy: process evaluation guided by normalization process theory

  • Susan Jones (Creator)
  • Sharon Hamilton (Creator)
  • Ruth Bell (Creator)
  • Vera Araújo-Soares (Creator)
  • Svetlana V. Glinianaia (Creator)
  • Eugene M. G. Milne (Creator)
  • Martin White (Creator)
  • Martyn Willmore (Creator)
  • Janet Shucksmith (Creator)



Abstract Background Smoking in pregnancy causes harm to mother and baby. Despite evidence from trials of what helps women quit, implementation in the real world has been hard to achieve. An evidence-based intervention, babyClear©, involving staff training, universal carbon monoxide monitoring, opt-out referral to smoking cessation services, enhanced follow-up protocols and a risk perception tool was introduced across North East England. This paper presents the results of the qualitative analyses, reporting acceptability of the system changes to staff, as well as aids and hindrances to implementation and normalization of this complex intervention. Methods Process evaluation was used to complement an effectiveness study. Interviews with maternity and smoking cessation services staff and observations of training were undertaken. Normalization Process Theory (NPT) was used to frame the interview guides and analysis. NPT is an empirically-derived theory, developed by sociologists, that uses four concepts to understand the process of routinising new practices. Results Staff interviews took place across eight National Health Service trusts at a time of widespread restructuring in smoking cessation services. Principally interviewees worked in maternity (n = 63) and smoking cessation services (n = 35). Five main themes, identified inductively, influenced the implementation: 1) initial preparedness of the organisations; 2) staff training; 3) managing partnership working; 4) resources; 5) review and planning for sustainability. Conclusions NPT was used to show that the babyClear© package was acceptable to staff in a range of organisations. Illustrated in Themes 1, 2 & 3, staff welcomed ways to approach pregnant women about their smoking, without damaging their professional relationship with them. Predicated on producing individual behaviour change in women, the intervention does this largely through reorganising and standardising healthcare systems that are required to implement best practice guidelines. Changing organisational systems requires belief and commitment from staff, so that they set up and maintain practical adjustments to their practice and are reflective about adapting themselves and the work context as new challenges are encountered. The ongoing challenge is to identify and maintain the elements of the intervention package which are essential for its effectiveness and how to tailor them to local circumstances and resources without compromising its core ingredients.
Date made available2019

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