Adapting to CONNECT: modifying a nursing home-based team-building intervention to improve hospital care team interactions, functioning, and implementation readiness.



Clinical interventions often need to be adapted from their original design when they are applied to new settings. There is a growing literature describing frameworks and approaches to deploying and documenting adaptations of evidence-based practices in healthcare. Still, intervention modifications are often limited in detail and justification, which may prevent rigorous evaluation of interventions and intervention adaptation effectiveness in new contexts. We describe our approach in a case study, combining two complementary intervention adaptation frameworks to modify CONNECT for Quality, a provider-facing team building and communication intervention designed to facilitate implementation of a new clinical program.


This process of intervention adaptation involved the use of the Planned Adaptation Framework and the Framework for Reporting Adaptations and Modifications, for systematically identifying key drivers, core and non-core components of interventions for documenting planned and unplanned changes to intervention design.


The CONNECT intervention's original context and setting is first described and then compared with its new application. This lays the groundwork for the intentional modifications to intervention design, which are developed before intervention delivery to participating providers. The unpredictable nature of implementation in real-world practice required unplanned adaptations, which were also considered and documented. Attendance and participation rates were examined and qualitative assessment of reported participant experience supported the feasibility and acceptability of adaptations of the original CONNECT intervention in a new clinical context.


This approach may serve as a useful guide for intervention implementation efforts applied in diverse clinical contexts and subsequent evaluations of intervention effectiveness.

Trial registration

The study was registered at ( NCT03300336 ) on September 28, 2017.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Wang, Virginia, Joshua D'Adolf, Kasey Decosimo, Katina Robinson, Ashley Choate, Rebecca Bruening, Nina Sperber, Elizabeth Mahanna, et al. (2022). Adapting to CONNECT: modifying a nursing home-based team-building intervention to improve hospital care team interactions, functioning, and implementation readiness. BMC health services research, 22(1). p. 968. 10.1186/s12913-022-08270-1 Retrieved from

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Nina Sperber

Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences

My research career has centered on understanding how to improve delivery of new evidence-based practices in health care systems. I work in health services research and development for the VA health care system and have an academic appointment with the Duke University School of Medicine. I create study designs that integrate qualitative and quantitative methods (mixed-methods) and apply Implementation Science and System Science approaches. I currently have a developing body of academic work that uses participatory system dynamics modeling as a strategy to identify system level factors that affect development and implementation of equitable AI tools. For the VA health care system, I direct a cross-functional team that conducts rapid turnaround projects for high priority needs by VHA national, regional, and facility leaders.


Van Houtven

Courtney Harold Van Houtven

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Courtney Van Houtven is a Professor in The Department of Population Health Science, Duke University School of Medicine and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She is also a Research Career Scientist in The Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT), Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Van Houtven’s aging and economics research interests encompass long-term care financing, intra-household decision-making, unpaid family and friend care, and home- and community-based services. She examines how family caregiving affects health care utilization, expenditures, health and work outcomes of care recipients and caregivers. She is also interested in understanding how best to support family caregivers to optimize caregiver and care recipient outcomes.

Dr. Van Houtven  is co-PI on the QUERI Program Project, “Optimizing Function and Independence”, in which her caregiver skills training program developed as an RCT in VA, now called Caregivers FIRST, has been implemented at 125 VA sites nationally. The team will evaluate how intensification of an implementation strategy changes adoption. She directs the VA-CARES Evaluation Center, which evaluates the VA’s Caregiver Support Program. She leads a mixed methods R01 study as PI from the National Institute on Aging that will assess the value of "home time" for persons living with dementia and their caregivers (RF1 AG072364).

Areas of expertise: Health Services Research and Health Economics

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