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21st February 2024 Latest News

Compassionate communities

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Palliative care doesn’t happen in isolation.

It’s also the circles of care and support that surround people experiencing a serious illness, dying and grief, including health, social, spiritual and emotional supports. It’s through this that a global movement of ‘Compassionate Communities’ has come about!

The support we provide as friends, family, neighbours and community members can give an unwell or dying person and their family much greater choices about where and how they want to be cared for up to and including their dying moments.

These choices add greatly to their quality of life and is especially relevant in rural communities where people often rely more on their support networks.

When someone is seriously unwell or dying, it is estimated that only 10% of their time is spent receiving formal care from medical practitioners and support services, and their remaining time is spent receiving support from family, friends and community.

This support is often referred to as ‘informal’ care or network care and can be as simple as putting the bins out or dropping kids to school.

It generally involves coordinating support among a group of people who share the load by forming a network. Offering, asking for and accepting support can enable someone to have their end of life wishes met and can also help immensely with bereavement.

Compassionate Communities are also about encouraging people:

  • to talk more openly about dying and make ‘end-of-life’ a more comfortable subject
  • to share their own end-of-life wishes
  • to accept support when it’s offered, even if it is early on when they don’t think they need it
  • to feel comfortable approaching someone who is seriously ill, dying or going through a hard time for another reason.

Morning tea events

The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Palliative Care is acutely aware of the importance of compassionate communities helping to nurture networks of support in neighbourhoods and communities, surrounding those experiencing death, dying, caregiving, loss and bereavement.

We were delighted to partner with Palliative Care SA as event sponsor of a recent road show delivering 12 Compassionate Community Conversations morning teas throughout SA – which was no mean feat!

Additionally, we attended the official launch of the Onkaparinga Compassionate Communities Collaborative. This was enlightening to see how small community groups can join together to create something impactful and big!

Onkaparinga Compassionate Communities have slowly built up from a few volunteers to being active and in-demand throughout southern Adelaide. They offer a range of events such as Art for the Heart, Death Café, Deeper Conversations Death Café and Colours of Life.