Background The new Integrated Care Systems promote collaboration and hub- based multidisciplinary (MDT) working (NHS. The NHS long term plan, 2019). Services working in an integrated way for the benefit of patients and their carers is necessary to improve health outcomes (Flanagan, Damery, Combes, 2017).
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) promotes learning as a community of practice, where everyone learns together from each other (Piriz Alvarez, 2018).
Aim To build multidisciplinary networks and evaluate the effectiveness of a systems based approach to learning using Project ECHO.
Method A community palliative care network was created. Health and social care professionals from across the county were invited. An existing care home network was widened to include teams going in to support residents. Evaluation was based on feedback, learning, changes to practice, attendance, geographical spread, variety of professions and session observations.
Results Community Palliative Care Network: 23 spokes spread throughout the county, including physical, mental health and social care services. Professions include medical, nursing, allied health professionals and paramedic. Case studies and discussions have been varied and spokes have been proactive at sharing knowledge and experience. Feedback indicates sessions were useful and relevant.
Care Home Network: Chaplains reported the sessions as interesting and informative. One home planning to actively seek a process for residents’ access to earlier spiritual care. Often the teams reaching into care homes have interacted more during sessions than the care homes themselves.
Conclusion Across health and social care, a systems approach to learning can add depth to discussions and learning as a MDT can enable wider discussions. The topics and case studies can meaningfully traverse a variety of services. Care homes may gain some benefit from accessing a wider system of learning but careful facilitation of sessions is needed to ensure the homes and their residents remain at the centre of the network. A tailored approach for each system is required.
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