P-61 Project ECHO™: developing and evaluating a community of practice with care homes
Background ECHO™ (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes) methodology comprises of hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to link people from different geographical settings to create a Community of Practice. Four members of hospice staff underwent immersion training with Project ECHO™.
We have strong links with local care homes who are keen to support staff to develop and reflect on how they deliver palliative care. Care homes find it challenging to release staff for training in person. The ECHO™ model was thought to be one solution to overcome this.
Aims We aimed to create a community of practice with local care homes and to evaluate the impact of learning in relation to staff members’ knowledge and how they planned to embed learning into practice.
Methods Five care homes regularly participated in the ECHO™ sessions which ran every two weeks with a total of six sessions. Feedback was sought after each ECHO™ session in the form of a questionnaire. At the end of the ECHO™ programme, participants were asked to complete another questionnaire reflecting on their overall experiences.
Results After each ECHO™ session, an average of three care homes provided us with feedback. Four care homes completed the overall evaluation. All felt that they had increased their knowledge on the topics covered by attending and that compared with other teaching methods it was either as good or better. All would recommend ECHO™ to other health and social care professionals. Three rated their overall experience as excellent and one as very good.
Conclusions There was excellent engagement from the care homes who participated in Project ECHO™. This was reflected in the very positive feedback that included many examples of changes in practice since participating. There was good evidence of two-way learning between care homes, and between care homes and hospice staff. This network has continued and another two care homes have since joined.
Boa, S., Foster, G., Manzie, L., & Alcorn, M. Project ECHOTM: developing and evaluating a community of practice with care homes. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. 2019; 9)4). Available at: https://spcare.bmj.com/content/9/Suppl_4/A31.3.abstract.