Utilising a 'Community of Practice' to support pharmacists to work in residential aged care: protocol for a longitudinal evaluation

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INTRODUCTION: A Community of Practice is briefly defined as a group of people with a shared interest in a given area of practice who work collaboratively to grow collective knowledge. Communities of Practice have been used to facilitate knowledge exchange and improve evidence-based practice. Knowledge translation within the residential aged care sector is lacking, with barriers such as inadequate staffing and knowledge gaps commonly cited. In Australia, a Federal inquiry into residential aged care practices led to a recommendation to embed pharmacists within residential aged care facilities. Onsite practice in aged care is a new role for pharmacists in Australia. Thus, support is needed to enable pharmacists to practice in this role.The primary aim is to evaluate the processes and outcomes of a Community of Practice designed to support pharmacists to work in aged care.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A longitudinal, single-group, pretest-post-test design in which the intervention is a Community of Practice. The Community of Practice will be established and made available for 3 years to all Australian pharmacists interested in, new to or established in aged care roles. The Community of Practice will be hosted on online discussion platforms, with additional virtual meetings and annual symposia. The following data will be collected from all members of the Community of Practice: self-evaluation of the processes and outcomes of the Community of Practice (via the CoPeval scale) and confidence in evidence-based practice (EPIC scale), collected via online questionnaires annually; and discussion platform usage statistics and discussion transcripts. A subset of members will be invited to participate in annual semi-structured individual interviews.Data from the online questionnaire will be analysed descriptively. Discussion transcripts will be analysed using topic modelling and content analysis to identify the common topics discussed and their frequencies. Qualitative data from individual interviews will be thematically analysed to explore perceptions and experiences with the intervention for information/knowledge exchange, impact on practice, and sharing/promoting/implementing evidence-based practice.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Human ethics approval has been granted by the University of Western Australia's Human Ethics Committee (2023/ET000000). No personal information will be included in any publications and reports to funding bodies.Findings will be disseminated to all members of the Community of Practice, professional organisations, social and mass media, peer-review journals, research and professional conferences and annual reports to the funding body.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere076856
Pages (from-to)e076856
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2024


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