ECHO Care of the Elderly – Using Technology to Build Capacity to Primary Care Providers in Long-Term Care

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Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an educational program that uses videoconferencing technology to link primary care providers in local communities with expert interprofessional teams at an academic hub in order to build capacity of primary care providers and promote a learning and support community. Each ECHO session includes a short presentation by specialists on specific topics of interest followed by cases presented by the learning partners (spokes). Feedback and recommendations on cases are provided by both the Hub and spokes. Baycrest, in partnership with North East Specialized Geriatric Centre, has been leading “Project ECHO Care of the Elderly” by building the capacity of over 100 primary care providers since January 2018 across a large geographic area in Ontario, Canada. Feedback from participants identified the need to implement an ECHO specifically for Long-Term Care (LTC). We surveyed medical directors, attending physicians, directors of care and other LTC interprofessional team members to determine most relevant and/or challenging curriculum for LTC. This poster will describe the Project ECHO philosophy and methodology and identify the benefits and challenges of implementing both a general Care of the Elderly ECHO program and one specific to Long-Term Care. Participating in a LTC-focused ECHO offers multiple benefits, including: ECHO methodology can be successful in improving care of LTC residents with complex cognitive, medical and mental health issues; Education framed around real case presentations; Networking, mentoring and community building with peers and content experts; Access to resources, website and shared practice tools; A formalized learning and sharing network or community of practice could assist with the co-creation, dissemination, implementation and evaluation of tools and resources across LTC; and Free CPD credits.