Marie Curie ECHO network: An innovative practice development initiative

Document Type


Publication Date



Introduction Palliative care is increasingly delivered in the community by health care assistants caring for people in their own homes. To ensure these lone workers are well supported and have access to evidence based education is crucial. Due to the geographical challenges, Marie Curie considered novel ways in which we could reach these workers better.

Marie Curie in Northern Ireland successfully submitted a bid to be part of Project Echo NI. Project Echo is a telementoring programme which uses video-conferencing and is led in Northern Ireland by Northern Ireland Hospice.

Aim This model aimed to enable community based health care assistants to access education, and increase their knowledge and confidence in caring for people living with a terminal illness.

Methods Project Echo uses a hub and spoke model, with members of a multi-disciplinary team being at the hub and participants logging in from around Northern Ireland (spokes). Participants generate the topics that they wish to cover in the programme. Evaluation data was collected at 6 time points throughout the programme.

Results Complete evaluation data will be presented. Positive evaluation results around the technology and method of learning demonstrate how this could be replicated in other areas around the country. Peer learning and access to the multi-disciplinary team were all seen as key in making the programme effective.

Conclusions Project Echo is an internationally recognised programme, which has been used effectively to deliver a person centred approach to practice development. Marie Curie is now considering other uses for this technology.