ECHO Care of the Elderly: Innovative Learning to Build Capacity in Long-term Care
Older adults are entering long-term care (LTC) homes with more complex care needs than in previous decades, resulting in demands on point-of-care staff to provide additional and specialty services. This study evaluated whether Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Care of the Elderly Long-Term Care (COE-LTC)—a case-based online education program—is an effective capacity-building program among interprofessional health-care teams caring for LTC residents.
A mixed-method, pre-and-post study comprised of satisfaction, knowledge, and self-efficacy surveys and exploration of experience via semi-structured interviews. Participants were interprofessional health-care providers from LTC homes across Ontario.
From January–March 2019, 69 providers, nurses/nurse practitioners (42.0%), administrators (26.1%), physicians (24.6%), and allied health professionals (7.3%) participated in 10 weekly, 60-minute online sessions. Overall, weekly session and post-ECHO satisfaction were high across all domains. Both knowledge scores and self-efficacy ratings increased post-ECHO, 3.9% (p = .02) and 9.7 points (p < .001), respectively. Interview findings highlighted participants’ appreciation of access to specialists, recognition of educational needs specific to LTC, and reduction of professional isolation.
We demonstrated that ECHO COE-LTC can be a successful capacity-building educational model for interprofessional health-care providers in LTC, and may alleviate pressures on the health system in delivering care for residents.
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