Care Staff During COVID-19 – ECHO

Angie SzumlinskiTraining

Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) is a virtual, capacity-building education program with the capability to provide rapid, real-time dissemination of best practices. Developed in 2003 at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Project ECHO develops Communities of Practice using a Hub-and-Spoke model of knowledge dissemination and collaborative learning. It exchanges knowledge between interprofessional teams of specialists at an academic center (Hubs) with primary care providers (Spokes), particularly those in rural, underserved areas.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated many changes, including the uptake and utilization of virtual platforms to provide opportunities for enhanced knowledge exchange, education, and to promote collegial networks. To support HCPs in LTC build capacity, strengthen their LTC teams, and support residents during the pandemic, the existing infrastructure was mobilized to launch ECHO Care of the Elderly-Long-Term Care (COE-LTC): COVID-19 in collaboration with the Ontario Centers for Learning, Research and Innovation (CLRI) in LTC at Baycrest. The study aimed to determine the effectiveness of ECHO COE-LTC: COVID-19 in delivering just-in-time learning and best practices for LTC HCPs to support their teams and residents.

Of the 252 individuals that registered for ECHO COE-LTC: COVID-19 and submitted application forms, 160 attended at least 1 weekly session. These ECHO sessions highlighted HCP needs as COVID-19-related protocols and system practices changed daily, further amplifying the need for just-in-time knowledge sharing. Participants reported an increased sense of well-being after implementing wellness and burnout management strategies learned. What a great collaborative approach to reaching out and supporting our LTC communities! Click here to learn more about ECHO.

Stay the course, stay well, mask up, get vaccinated, and stay tuned!