Friday 1st June 2012
Tracy Wild and Cathy Thorman evaluate the e-ELCA programme across Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
End of life care for all (e-ELCA) is a free e-learning package designed to increase knowledge about end-of-life care. It’s aimed at all health and social care staff who have contact with people requiring end-of-life care.
In a large, multi-site Trust such as the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, effective education of all staff caring for people towards the end of their lives can be difficult to achieve. So the Trust undertook a pilot study of the e-ELCA programme, involving staff with a variety of backgrounds and grades to determine whether it could be implemented effectively, and to assess the user experience.
Twenty six staff members from across the Trust, including nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers, took part in the pilot. Each participant chose one module to progress as far as they could over an eight-week period from March–May 2011. A pre-pilot workshop was held to allow participants to ‘have a go’ within a supportive environment.
Participants could also apply for remote access to study at home.
Participants were asked to complete pre and post-pilot questionnaires and attend a postevaluation workshop. Participants returned 58% of pre-pilot and 60% of post-pilot questionnaires.
Feedback from learners who participated in the pilot evaluation was very positive, with 94% stating they would recommend e-ELCA to others, 47% stating they would definitely continue with further study, and 27% stating they would possibly continue.
Participants felt the e-ELCA was of excellent quality and was pitched ‘at the right level’. One participant commented that it ‘met my expectations and beyond’. Although most participants completed the e-ELCA on an individual basis, 25% used a combination of individual and group study, demonstrating the flexibility of e-ELCA. Only a small number of participants (25%) were allocated study time and this impacted on the completion of modules, with many feeling unable to progress as well as they had hoped. Indeed, lack of time was identified by 75% of participants as a significant difficulty and limitation of the e-ELCA.
A launch event in June 2011 resulted in generation of plans for other teams to implement e-ELCA.
Contact Tracy Wild and Cathy Thorman, Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Nurses at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, North Manchester General Hospital on 0161 720 2814 or email Tracy / email Cathy
1. e-Learning for Healthcare. End of Life Care for All. http://www.e-lfh.org.uk/projects/e-elca/index.html (accessed 16 August 2011).
2. Improving Outcomes: a strategy for cancer. 2010. Department of Health, London.
3. Cancer Reform Strategy. 2007. Department of Health, London.
4. End of Life Care Strategy – promoting high quality care for all adults at the end of life. 2008. Department of Health, London.
The programme includes four core modules (advance care planning, assessment, communication skills and symptom management) and a fifth additional module, which includes sessions on social care, bereavement, spirituality and integrating learning. It includes over 150 sessions of interactive learning and some modules are available to volunteers and administrative staff via an open-access website – endoflifecareforall.org.uk.
Dr Iain Lawrie, FRCP MRCGP, Consultant and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine, Pennine Acute NHS Trust.