Not just a talking shop: practitioner perspectives on how communities of practice work to improve outcomes for people experiencing multiple exclusion homelessness

Michelle Cornes, Jill Manthorpe, Catherine Hennessy, Sarah Anderson, Michael Clark, Christopher Scanlon (2014)

Please note: this is a legacy publication from CPEC (formely PSSRU at LSE).

Journal of Interprofessional Care 28 6 541-546

Available online: 14 May 2014

Within homelessness services recent policy developments have highlighted the need for integration and improved collaborative working and also, the need for “Psychologically Informed Environments” (PIES) in which workers are better equipped to manage the “complex trauma” associated with homelessness. Drawing on the findings of an evaluation of a multi-site development programme, this paper demonstrates how both these policy aspirations might be implemented through a single delivery vehicle (a community of practice). The paper describes how organizational, educational and psychosocial theory was used to inform programme design and reflects on the utility of these approaches in the light of the evaluation findings. It is reported that communities of practice can deliver significant performance gains in terms of building collaborative relationships and opening-up opportunities for interprofessional education and learning. Filling an important knowledge gap, it also suggested how (professional) participation in a community of practice might work to improve outcomes for service users. Most likely we see those outcomes as being linked to tackling exclusion by sustaining the workforce itself, that is in motivating workers to remain engaged and thinking positively in what is an emotionally challenging and stressful job role.