Home self-administration of intravenous antibiotics as part of an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy service: a qualitative study of the perspectives of patients who do not self-administer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Antonella Tonna
  • Geraldine Anthony
  • Ivan Tonna
  • Katrina Forbes-mckay
  • Rob Laing
  • Alexander Mackenzie
  • Sharon Falconer
  • Gillian Mccartney
  • Derek Stewart

Colleges, School and Institutes


Objectives This study aimed to use a theoretical approach to understand the determinants of behaviour in patients not home self-administering intravenous antibiotics.

Setting Outpatient care: included patients were attending an outpatient clinic for intravenous antibiotic administration in the northeast of Scotland.

Participants Patients were included if they had received more than 7 days of intravenous antibiotics and were aged 16 years and over. Twenty potential participants were approached, and all agreed to be interviewed. 13 were male with a mean age of 54 years (SD +17.6).

Outcomes Key behavioural determinants that influenced patients’ behaviours relating to self-administration of intravenous antibiotics.

Design Qualitative, semistructured in-depth interviews were undertaken with a purposive sample of patients. An interview schedule, underpinned by the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), was developed, reviewed for credibility and piloted. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed thematically using the TDF as the coding framework.

Results The key behavioural determinants emerging as encouraging patients to self-administer intravenous antibiotics were the perceptions of being sufficiently knowledgeable, skilful and competent and that self-administration afforded the potential to work while administering treatment. The key determinants that impacted their decision not to self-administer were lack of knowledge of available options, a perception that hospital staff are better trained and anxieties of potential complications.

Conclusion Though patients are appreciative of the skills and knowledge of hospital staff, there is also a willingness among patients to home self-administer antibiotics. However, the main barrier emerges to be a perceived lack of knowledge of ways of doing this at home. To overcome this, a number of interventions are suggested based on evidence-based behavioural change techniques.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere027475
JournalBMJ open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2019


  • behaviours, opat, qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas