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Keywords:

  • clinical practice guidelines;
  • nursing facilities;
  • qualitative research

OBJECTIVES: To identify barriers to and facilitators of the diffusion of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and clinical protocols in nursing homes (NHs).

DESIGN: Qualitative analysis.

SETTING: Four randomly selected community nursing homes.

PARTICIPANTS: NH staff, including physicians, nurse practitioners, administrative staff, nurses, and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

MEASUREMENTS: Interviews (n=35) probed the use of CPGs and clinical protocols. Qualitative analysis using Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation stages-of-change model was conducted to produce a conceptual and thematic description.

RESULTS: None of the NHs systematically adopted CPGs, and only three of 35 providers were familiar with CPGs. Confusion with other documents and regulations was common. The most frequently cited barriers were provider concerns that CPGs were “checklists” to replace clinical judgment, perceived conflict with resident and family goals, limited facility resources, lack of communication between providers and across shifts, facility policies that overwhelm or conflict with CPGs, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations interpreted to limit CNA access to clinical information. Facilitators included incorporating CPG recommendations into training materials, standing orders, customizable data collection forms, and regulatory reporting activities.

CONCLUSION: Clinicians and researchers wishing to increase CPG use in NHs should consider these barriers and facilitators in their quality improvement and intervention development processes.