Compassionate communities

“I live in a community where everybody recognises that we all have a role to play in supporting each other in times of crisis and loss. People are ready, willing and confident to have conversations about living and dying well and to support each other in emotional and practical ways.”

Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020

Compassionate communities

Our Compassionate Development programme supports St Luke’s vision of a ‘A Hospice Without Walls’ it also sets out how St Luke’s will implement the relevant ambitions for end of life care as stated in the ‘National Ambitions for Palliative Care’ (NCPC 2016) by using a public health approach to community development known as compassionate communities, based upon the Compassionate City Charter.

What is a compassionate community?

A compassionate community gives ‘ordinary’ people the skills to be able to make a difference by addressing issues raised by end of life and other losses, and to be a helpful, emphatic ear. It encourages communities to support people with life-limiting illnesses and their families and helps them to recognise that care for one another at times of crisis and loss is not simply a task solely for health and social services, but is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you are a neighbour, friend or family member, we all have a part to play. We want us all to live well within our communities to the very end of our lives.

What can we do?

Our aim is to form new ways of working between communities and specialist services to improve end of life care locally. We want to create a community of compassionate friends and ultimately dispel the myths about death and dying. By adopting a community development approach to end of life care, where care is more patient led and by working with various local communities and networks to enable them to provide support, we can all hope to become compassionate communities. You can find out more about our current community projects on our Projects and Partnerships page.

Our ambitions

Develop compassionate and resilient communities

Recognising what communities are already doing and supporting them to do more, as well as encouraging and developing the ability of all of us to discuss dying, death and bereavement in better-informed and more confident ways, will help dying and bereaved people be better supported within their communities.

Raise public awareness of the issues of death and dying

Every opportunity should be taken to use media of all types to encourage everyone to play a part in supporting people nearing the end of their lives, including what people can and want to do for themselves, such as making wills and advance care planning.

Give practical support

We need to find new ways to work alongside families, neighbours and community organisations as well as to give them practical support, information and training. However, care must be taken to respect privacy. Confidential personal information should only be disclosed to those named by the patient as being part of their compassionate network.

Work with volunteers

We want to encourage people to become ‘compassionate friends’ by training and connecting them into networks of support, so they can be become effective self-sustaining networks of support for people, their families and communities.