Evaluation of the Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care (EBPAC) Initiative
Department of Social Services
Duration: September 2012 – May 2015
Download the final report
Fildes D, Westera A and Masso M, Gordon R, Grootemaat P, Williams K, Morris D, Kobel C and Samsa P (2015) Evaluation of the Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care (EBPAC) Initiative: Final Report. Centre for Health Service Development, Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong.
The Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care (EBPAC) program was funded by the Australian Government over three rounds with the aim of encouraging the uptake of evidence-based practice in both the residential and community aged care sectors. This Round Three initiative is an extension of the former Encouraging Best Practice in Residential Aged Care (EBPRAC) Program (Rounds 1 and 2) which funded 13 projects focusing solely on residential aged care.
The EBPAC program consisted of eleven projects with the broad objective of achieving practice and evidence-based improvements for people receiving aged care services, staff providing those services, the aged care system and the broader community. The majority of projects were funded for a two and a half year period between June 2012 and December 2014. There were three broad groups of projects: leadership and organisational change; evidence translation in community care; and evidence translation in residential aged care.
What we did
Our evaluation resulted in a better understanding of what works in aged care, and what needs to be in place in order for innovations to succeed. The heterogeneous and dynamic nature of the aged care sector means there is no one simple formula to facilitating change in a consistent and coherent manner. The complex interaction between consumer, workforce, organisational and systemic factors will continue to pose challenges to the provision of evidence-based practice and will need to be explicitly addressed to ensure that the benefits of any future investments are realised. What is clear from the emerging research evidence, and the experience of the EBPAC program however, is that the development of resources and delivery of education alone will not lead to sustainable outcomes. We were also able to highlight the importance of stakeholder input and multi-level strategies to support implementation and sustainability.
What was clear from the overall program evaluation was the importance of any new initiative to be underpinned by the evidence regarding implementation. There is no doubt that the EBPAC program has built capacity amongst the many project leaders, team members and participants; developed and strengthened intra- and inter-sector partnerships; and, significantly, initiated and/or revived enthusiasm and commitment amongst those directly responsible for the day to day support and care of aged care clients. However, it is apparent that such sector development initiatives need to be coordinated across government and in partnership with stakeholder representatives to ensure the multiple perspectives are appropriately captured, optimise learnings and avoid duplication of effort. Also, any future sector development initiatives need to reflect contemporary evidence-based practice and utilise multi-level interventions if they are to succeed.
Collectively, the three rounds of EBPAC represented a significant investment to improve the delivery of evidence-based practice for aged care recipients whether they reside in a facility or in the community. Aged care workers were upskilled through their participation in training events such as workshops. Tools were developed to promote organisational uptake of the innovations and effort was made to align innovations with regulatory frameworks and strategic reforms.