In the last decade there has been considerable investment in end of life teaching to the care home sector with particular reference to the Gold Standards Framework and Six Steps to Success North West Care Home Programme. These two successful programmes are continuing to gather momentum and our project was not to compete with these, our dual aim was to develop care home managers in terms of their leadership and management and increase their End of Life Care (EoLC) knowledge and skills. We believe that the sum of the two would be greater than the separate parts. The use of an action learning set was purposeful, hoping to develop a sustainable supportive local network of managers.
Action learning is sometimes referred to as group coaching; the premise is that real life problems would be brought to the “set” for discussion. The problems shared related either to EoLC or to people management. Within each of the ten days there was a dedicated slot, typically 90 minutes to teach on a particular EoLC topic.
Scammell et al 2012 in their service evaluation of our project concluded “This evaluation provides compelling evidence that an action learning approach to EoLC education can be used to empower middle managers to have positive impacts on EoLC provision through not only increasing specialist knowledge but also enhancing their capability to engage in a confident and informed manner with a diverse range of stakeholders”
Many hospices engage in delivering education to care homes. Care homes often operate in a competitive market but in our project we witnessed action learning sets breaking down any potential barriers. This is very important since creating supportive networks could increase retention of middle managers, high turnover of this group arguably impacts on moving forward with good EoLC initiative’s such as advance care planning.
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