Join our upcoming #PallANZ Tweetchat on Wednesday 27 July 2016
Moderated by @JasonMills77
Imagine if communities really cared about their members’ health and social well-being. And imagine if that care extended to the dying, death, and loss, experienced by everyone in those communities. Imagine if the idea of ‘death’ went beyond physical death and included the deaths of identity and belonging… Such frameworks do partly exist in the World Health Organization’s ‘Healthy Cities’ programs, but end-of-life care issues are often neglected.
Kellehear, A. (2005). Compassionate Cities: Public health and end-of-life care. Routledge: London.
Over a decade has passed since Australian Sociologist Allan Kellehear implored us to imagine this vision for compassionate communities’ care for those among us living with dying.
Why the emphasis on social contexts of death and dying?
In many ways, the communal experience of death and dying has become medicalised through professionalization of the (more social) hospice movement, into contemporary palliative care. But we cannot forget that death is not solely a medical event—dying is a fundamentally social experience, with profound impacts on ones’ social concepts of self and broader social networks. Social determinants of health remain equally important even as one approaches death; this is encapsulated beautifully in the notion of healthy dying.
In this article (available here), Kellehear outlines the widespread uptake of compassionate communities approaches in England – in both policy and practice initiatives. Others discuss the broader development and uptake of similar approaches internationally, through a public health framework of palliative care professionals’ community engagement.
The key message of compassionate communities is that, whilst professional care is essential, it is not central to the dying person. The primacy of social networks and informal care, as well as limitations to service provision, must be recognized; professional care must therefore complement, not supplant, this social care. Unfortunately, there has been research to suggest that professional care has, at times, seemingly hindered rather than helped. Health promoting palliative care, community development and death literacy are therefore increasingly emphasized.
What does a ‘compassionate community’ look like?
In a compassionate community, as described by Kellehear, death and care of the dying is everyone’s concern and responsibility—families, neighbours, friends, workplaces, schools, businesses, and places of worship are a source of genuine support, care, information, networking, and greater learning about end-of-life care.
You may be part of part of more communities (groups of people) than you realize, so let’s begin to think about our own communities – and the ways in which support and compassionate care are (or could be) expressed through these social networks.
This month, @palliverse and @PCACEO invite you—as a health care consumer or health care professional—to join us for this #PallANZ Tweet Chat to discuss ‘Compassionate Communities’ on Wednesday 27th July 2016.
This online tweet chat will be an opportunity to share your experiences, ask questions and talk about the key issues. Let’s together discuss this important topic and exchange ideas to build communities that are more compassionate and able to care for those of us living with dying.
For those new to Twitter check out our tutorial here.
- When? July 27th (Wednesday)
- 5pm AWST (Perth)
- 6:30pm ACST (Adelaide, Darwin)
- 7pm AEST (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart)
- 9pm NZST (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington)
- What? ‘Compassionate Communities’
- T1 Let’s start with communities (groups of people), which communities are you a part of?
- T2 Now on to ‘compassionate communities’ – In what ways do your communities support & care for those living with dying?
- T3 What helps & what hinders your communities to have the capacity and compassion to support & care for those living with dying?
- T4 Palliative care is everyone’s business – what can we do to build more compassionate communities?