Background The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a need for locality-wide pandemic-specific end-of-life education. Face-to-face teaching was cancelled due to social distancing measures. A hospice education centre, already an ECHO (Extending Community Healthcare Outcomes) Hub, adapted their existing education programmes to meet local needs.
Methods Five ECHO Networks, established in March, ran over 10 weeks supporting local care homes, district nurses and GPs. Topics were agreed by participants, sessions led by a Palliative Medicine Consultant with multi-professional colleagues, and cases presented by the homes. Supporting resources were available via virtual learning environment (Moodle).
Additional bespoke Zoom sessions met specific training needs of nurses (verification of death (126), syringe driver competencies (92)) and other groups (GP trainees, local psychiatry teams). The Palliative Care Services visited all hospital wards daily delivering point-of-care training and local Covid-19 End-of-Life Guidance. Training numbers were collated and feedback requested via survey monkey for ECHO network participants.
Results Over 1500 individual education contacts were recorded in 3 months (ECHO:625, Zoom:404, Point of Care: 471). Survey-monkey feedback from 28 ECHO participants rated the overall value of the ECHO network as 9.3/10. None reported technical problems with Zoom. They reported peer support and keeping up to date with rapidly changing information & guidelines the most helpful elements. Learning was cascaded throughout teams.
Conclusion A flexible approach enabled the Hospice Education Centre to respond promptly to changing needs. As an existing ECHO Hub, the team were well placed to deliver interactive education virtually. Educators and participants recognised that education sessions provided a much-needed opportunity for pastoral and wellbeing support. Following the initial peak of the pandemic, point-of care training continues and other end-of-life training (including communication skills, undergraduate & postgraduate medical education, MSc modules) has been adapted to be delivered interactively & virtually, ensuring vital end-of-life training continues throughout the pandemic.
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