Stimulating program implementation via a Community of Practice: A responsive evaluation of care programs for frail older people in the Netherlands

J. Bindels*, K. Cox, G. Widdershoven, C.P. van Schayck, T.A. Abma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Evaluation is often used as a vehicle to improve program implementation. To evaluate the implementation of programs that provide care for frail older people a Community of Practice (COP) was developed in the Netherlands. The purpose of this paper is to describe and reflect on the role of a CoP in the implementation of these programs. Using a responsive evaluation approach this study was based on interviews with participating stakeholders and transcripts of the CoP meetings with 13 professionals, project managers and patient representatives. Findings showed that CoP members had unanticipated concerns regarding the pro-active approach of the programs and older people not being open to receiving care. The heterogenic composition was appreciated and fostered learning. A social infrastructure was created for active learning inside and outside the CoP. We conclude that a CoP is a useful strategy as part of an evaluation aimed at improving program implementation. Lessons learned include the importance of creating ownership among CoP members by sharing responsibilities and paying attention to the heterogenic group composition and professional language spoken to involve all members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Communities of practice
  • Situated learning
  • Responsive evaluation
  • Implementation
  • Frailty
  • Older people

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