Examining implementation facilitators and barriers of a mHealth program for parents of children with disabilities


Strategies aimed at increasing physical activity (PA) among children with disabilities (CWD) should target parent support as it is one of the strongest correlates of PA among CWD. Planning is one strategy to enhance PA support behaviours among parents of CWD. Therefore, an evidence-based 12-week mHealth PA planning program was created that delivered PA messages aimed at helping parents of CWD plan to support their children's PA. Guided by the PRACTical Planning for Implementation and Scale-up (PRACTIS) guide, this study aimed to examine facilitators and barriers to the implementation of this mHealth program. Three parents of CWD engaged with the program and participated in an individual interview. Four themes were identified through thematic analysis: (a) facilitators to program implementation (e.g., user-friendly interface, notifications to prompt program engagement and motivation to support PA), (b) barriers to program implementation (e.g., practicality issues, too much information and lack of community engagement, (c) suggestions for improvement (e.g., quick reminders, condensed information, tailored information and increased practicality, and (d) credible sources to support implementation (e.g., organizations and professionals). This is the first mHealth program aimed at motivating planning for parent support for PA among parents of CWD. These findings provide an understanding of the facilitators and barriers to implementation of an mHealth program targeting parents of CWD, which can inform the development and dissemination of future mHealth programs for this population.

Acknowledgments: This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.