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Sharing our expertise to help with end of life training in care homes

Here at St Catherine’s, we’re committed to sharing our expert knowledge to make sure as many people in our local community, in different healthcare settings, receive the best possible care at the end of life.

As part of our partnership working with Sussex Hospices Collaboration, a group of seven Sussex based hospices, we’ve been involved with an initiative called Project ECHO Sussex Hospices.

Project ECHO is a methodology which aims to bring together specialist teams and primary healthcare providers, such as care homes, to enable learning and support. The goal is to improve best practice and empower participants to make informed decisions when problem solving in their own place of work.

Project ECHO Sussex Hospices is a collaboration of seven Sussex based hospices

Founded in 2019, the project team was formed to engage with and support care homes across Sussex.

The project was identified as: “a unique opportunity to work collaboratively to increase collective reach between hospice and care home staff, and enhance the quality of care experienced by significantly greater numbers of people who die in care homes across Sussex”

Ultimately, there is an anticipation that this collaborative work could also offer longer term efficiencies for health and care systems as care home staff become more confident in caring for people at the end of life.

It’s also hoped that this initiative could provide cost savings resulting from less ambulance call outs and unnecessary hospital admissions.

Following some delays as a result of COVID-19 the project started in earnest in June 2020

The project team’s first few months were spent creating and agreeing the structure and roles within a cohesive and sustainable working alliance, and since then, Project ECHO Sussex Hospices has held successful training sessions for care home staff.

Jane Bates, our Learning Education and Development Manager has been leading on the work. Here she shares more:

“I joined the Project ECHO Team about a year ago just as they were rolling out training for facilitators. Since then I’ve been representing the hospice as Lead within the collaboration. I’ve attended meetings as well as facilitated sessions.

So how have I found the experience?

I love facilitating the sessions although it does require very careful listening and use of paraphrasing to ensure I’ve understood correctly. As one of the only non-clinical facilitators, I’ve also had to learn new jargon very quickly! I recently facilitated a curriculum setting session with 16 care homes (and about 25 to 30 people) on the call. I chose to use a poll within Zoom to find out key information about when the care homes want to have their sessions, and also put people into breakout rooms to discuss what they want the curriculum to include.

Finding out how we can best support care homes and understand their training needs can have huge benefits to our hospice and how we work together with care homes

Care homes are very keen to be involved in this work, and we’ll be measuring the impact and benefits of our Project ECHO work over the coming year.

Working within a collaboration also has its challenges

But it has been a great opportunity to build new relationships and learn how other hospices work. I’m looking forward to some of our St Catherine’s clinical experts delivering some of the educational sessions over the next few months.”

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