Background In 2018 our hospice became an ‘Extension for Community Health Outcomes’, (ECHO) Hub. In March 2020 we were approached by the Care Home GP Lead from the CCG. She had quickly identified that the care homes across the county were struggling in light of the pandemic and a platform to provide information, guidance and support was required. As host to an ECHO Hub, we were well placed to support this call to action.
Aim ‘Project ECHO provides a way where hospitals doing fantastic stuff can also help communities to do fantastic stuff, while learning about what they need to do together.’ Prof Max Watson (Eaton, 2019).
With these words in mind, the ethos of pulling a community together and sharing information in a time of need was foremost in our minds. Utilising the ECHO Platform would allow us to reach care homes across the whole county.
Method A weekly meeting commenced in April 2020, reaching participant numbers of 50 plus on a regular basis. The GP Lead led the meetings with guest speakers from the CCG Infection Control team, County Council and Public Health England. Subjects such as guidance on care home visiting were high on the agenda.
Results April 2020 – to August 2020, 790 participants attended the weekly meetings. We then moved on to create a more traditional palliative care knowledge network programme for the homes and have delivered five cohorts to date – consisting in total of 351 attendees. We were also able to deliver Verification of Expected Death training via the ECHO platform. 1,259 care home staff reached since the start of the pandemic.
Conclusions As a result of this work it has been possible to support the homes and to work better together. This displays the ECHO ethos at its best as a project.
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