What is a Compassionate Community ?
Where people are encouraged to engage and be informed about death, dying and care and adapt their behaviour to be active in supporting others at end of life
What does that look like in the real world?
People in the same geographical area or with common links (sport, church, workplace, cultural groups) work together to
Care for people at end of life, from illness through to bereavement for family, friends and carers of people who have died – including people who are vulnerable or marginalised.
Respect and respond to the needs and wishes of the dying person and their families, including social, physical, psychological, cultural and spiritual aspects.
Be led from within the local community than by palliative care or public health.
Work alongside service providers to support people at end of life and their family and carers through the experience of illness, dying and bereavement.
Are initiated and grown out of a community need.
Yes.... But what does it DO?
A common confusion is that Compassionate Communities or 'ComCom' should be doing the work as a service provider - like a council or a health service. As soon as a group using a ComCom approach is pigeonholed into providing services (regular transport etc) it can miss the achieve the primary goal of creating a culture where death and dying are discussed and everyone knows where to get help to provide the care. It might still improve the care of people at end of life, but it is not improving the culture and knowledge in the community to manage when the next crisis comes along.
By teaching core skills in caring for someone at end of life to anyone who is interested, we increase the pool of people who might be able to support a family if their needs are not able to be met by their own network of friends, family and formal care services from health services or council.
Using a ComCom approach, people can gain the confidence to support their neighbours and know where to get more help when someone is dealing with end of life issues - without having to complete the piles of paperwork that go alone with volunteering with a service. People assist each other in the real world and use their common sense and accept an element of personal risk rather than default to rely on insurance.
That's OK - It can be a confusing concept
Have a chat to one of the Shannon's Bridge team or
check out thegroundswellproject.com