Background Palliative care requires an integrated, multidisciplinary approach and involves a range of specialities. Despite increasing demand, limited resources are often available to deliver high quality palliative care education and support that is tailored to meet the needs of healthcare professionals. Project ECHO (a tele-mentoring programme) could overcome this gap by using video-conferencing to deliver best practice guidance and education from specialists, and case-based learning with peer discussion. Five ECHO networks in Northern Ireland were established (Cardiology/Heart Failure, District nurses, Community pharmacy, Paediatrics, Marie Curie registered nurses). Participants set the curriculum, network aims and objectives, which included increasing participants’ palliative care knowledge and skills, enhancing confidence, building relationships, and facilitating peer support. 45 ECHO sessions were delivered across five networks between 2018-2019 with 194 participants attending ≥2.
Aim The aim of evaluation was to identify if each network achieved its objectives.
Methods Retrospective online survey issued to participants after the final ECHO.
Results 27% (60/224) registered participants responded. ECHO was identified as a suitable model for education delivery and valued for case-based learning. Each network met their objectives: increased knowledge and management of palliative care patients. ECHO was identified as a suitable model for delivering education and the opportunity for case-based learning was valued. Impacts on practice included improvements in, inter-agency working, networking, communication with patients and families, confidence to make clinical decisions. Professional isolation was also reduced. Barriers to participation included time restraints due to staff shortages or workload.
Conclusion Project ECHO may be ideal for delivering palliative care education and support across multiple settings. However, protected time for participation is recommended.
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