Evaluation of EFNE's Innovative EQOL Program Shows Promising Year One Findings
Year One evaluation results from the Epilepsy Foundation New England (EFNE) Improving Quality of Life and Health Equity for People Living with Epilepsy (EQOL) program, a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show that EQOL has made a strong start towards its five-year goals of strengthening health systems and improving quality of life for people living with epilepsy in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
EQOL provides one-on-one care management, referrals to epilepsy self-management programs and other resources and community supports to people living with epilepsy through its innovative Epilepsy Resource Rooms staffed by trained community health workers at participating epilepsy centers and nonprofit programs ("host sites") throughout New England. In addition to providing one-on-one support, EQOL boasts an exclusive repository of over 7,000 epilepsy-relevant referral sources and community resources, carefully curated on an ongoing basis by the program's own community resource specialists.
EFNE contracted with Kelley Analytics, LLC®, an independent evaluation consulting firm, to conduct the EQOL evaluation. Key findings from Year One include the following:
· 13 host sites from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont are participating in the EQOL program.
· The EQOL program accomplished important implementation milestones during its first year, including hiring staff; developing program policies and procedures; and building collaborative partnerships with host sites and community organizations.
· Year One successes highlighted by the EQOL leadership team included establishing an Epilepsy Resource Room at the preeminent Massachusetts General Hospital; increasing access to services for people with epilepsy with diverse and complex needs; increased referrals for people with epilepsy; and strong teamwork.
In addition, the EQOL leadership team reported valuable lessons learned about the importance of community collaboration and partnership building:
· Building effective partnerships takes time.
· Maintaining an attitude of openness and flexibility and working with "the right person at the right time" is critical for successful collaboration with hospitals.
These promising Year One findings serve as the foundation of a comprehensive evaluation plan that will examine the EQOL program's processes and outcomes across its five-year implementation period.
According to Susan Linn, Executive Director of EFNE, "We are proud of our teams' hard work in the first year of the EQOL program and the foundation they've created implementing new programs, policies, and procedures. The positive results of the evaluation showcase EFNE's dedication to improving the lives of those living with epilepsy and our mission to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives."