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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an urgent need for additional and adaptive palliative care training among frontline health care providers. This is evidenced by the nearly 30,000 health care professionals who have sought out Pallium Canada’s free palliative care resources since the onset of the pandemic. That is 30,000 health care professionals seeking timely information and looking to connect with professional learning communities to provide better care to patients and their families.
Pallium Canada has launched the Palliative Care ECHO Project, an exciting new initiative that helps address a current gap in palliative care delivery—sustainable infrastructure to rapidly capture and share palliative care knowledge, tools, resources, and protocol changes among health care teams across the country.
The Palliative Care ECHO Project is a 5-year national initiative to cultivate communities of practice and establish continuous professional development among health care providers across Canada who care for patients with life-limiting illness. Led by Pallium Canada and partners from across Canada, the Project delivers a continuous learning journey for health care providers to build local capacity to provide a palliative care approach to patients and their families.
ECHO programming is well on its way and has included a Quality Improvement Collaborative Series for family health teams as well as a Personal Support Worker Series focused on the important role of PSWs as part of the care team, among others. To access recordings of past ECHO sessions, visit: www.echopalliative.com
How the project works
The power of ECHO is in its connectivity. ECHO uses a “hub and spoke” education model to connect health care providers in communities (“spokes”) with teams of specialists and experts at regional and national centers (the “hub”). The creation of hubs is the anchor of the overarching model and exists to be more responsive to local, regional, and provincial, or sector-specific needs.
The spokes represent the various communities (e.g., family health teams, paramedics) and settings of care (e.g., long-term care residences, home care) that are served by a hub. Health care professionals who work within these spokes are the beneficiaries of the various palliative care educational interventions created by the hub and by Pallium that will enhance their learning and practice.
We are thrilled to share that the first five hub partners of the Palliative Care ECHO Project include the BC Centre for Palliative Care, the Canadian Association for Long Term Care, the Canadian Home Care Association, the Montreal Institute for Palliative Care, and the North Simcoe Muskoka Hospice Palliative Care Network.
Hub partners are at the heart of the Palliative Care ECHO Project and through the leadership of these amazing organizations, existing programs and resources can reach more health care providers and learners and new content and programming can be rapidly shared, developed, and deployed to fill gaps and enhance learning opportunities.
How to take part
All health care professionals can participate in the national programming of the Palliative Care ECHO Project. Some ECHO sessions are targeted to specific professions or practice areas. Health care professionals can also review the upcoming provincial or sector-specific ECHO programming of hub partners at the links above.
Be sure to register for an upcoming ECHO session for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day with guest speaker Professor Irene J. Higginson who will address hospice palliative care service provision in times of crisis and link to the theme of the World Day: Equity in Access to Palliative Care. Learn more about this upcoming ECHO session and more, here: www.echopalliative.com
It only takes a minute to connect and become part of this community of practice that is sharing knowledge, tools, and resources on palliative care for health care professionals.
For more information about the Palliative Care ECHO Project and to stay informed on updates and sessions, please visit www.echopalliative.com. If you have any questions, email echo [at] pallium.ca ().