Title of ArticleAn educational initiative to support the development of communities of practice in older people’s care home settings
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sKirsten Jack, Louise Jones and Claire Hamshire
ReferenceVolume 11, Issue 1, Article 7
Date of PublicationMay 2021
KeywordsCare homes, communities of practice, development, nurse education, older people, peer-assisted learning

Background: It is predicted that care home provision for older people will need to increase significantly over the next 30 years, requiring a skilled workforce that expands to meet this growing need. Innovative practice development strategies are required to support the existing workforce and provide incentives to help recruit new staff.

Aim: This article aims to explore the use of the peer-assisted learning model to support the development of communities of practice in care home settings in an area of England.

Method: Care home teams were invited to university-based workshops and their experiences of using peer-assisted learning were elicited through narrative telephone interviews undertaken with care home managers.

Findings: Three overarching themes were identified relating to practice development: context, process and impact. Through peer-assisted learning, staff were empowered to share their expertise and knowledge with colleagues, resulting in enhanced communication, respect and person-centred resident care. Managers viewed peer-assisted learning as a sustainable, low-cost investment in staff development.

Conclusion: This article contributes to practice development by presenting reflections on an innovative initiative to facilitate the use of peer-assisted learning in educational practices in the care home workforce. Combining the philosophies of community of practice and peer-assisted learning provides a model that can foster practice development in the care home setting. Further, this work can support the development of communities of practice that operate across care homes on a national/international basis.

Implications for practice:

  • This article describes a sustainable practice development model that can be used in the care home setting
  • Grounding practice development in the philosophies of peer support and communities of practice can promote a climate of mutual respect and enhanced communication
  • Improved communication and sharing of expertise within care home teams offers the potential for improved resident-centred care provision

This article by Kirsten Jack, Louise Jones and Claire Hamshire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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