Developing compassionate communities: the caring at end of life research program


Compassionate Communities and networks of care

The Caring at End-of-Life Research Program is committed to research and supporting the development of Compassionate Communities. Compassionate Communities is a radical, whole of community approach to end of life care where caring for one another at times of need, loss and/or crisis becomes the task and responsibility of everyone. Such a move towards social and collective responsibility requires a recalibration of health, social services and communities. For health and social services, the challenge is to work with people in respectful partnerships which promote empowerment and wellness; for the community it means stepping up to the responsibility of caring for each other in times of need and crisis. With its beginnings in Australia it is now a growing international and national movement drawing on the work of Professor Allan Kelehear and a growing network of academics, practitioners and community members. Despite everyone's best efforts existing models of providing care and support has done little to reduce the problems of social isolation, carer burden, stigma and fear. Adopting a whole of community approach where formal and informal networks come together to provide care and support is an alternative model which could ameliorate these issues developing community capacity to care in the process. As such this requires a reconceptualization of caring away from individuals to communities, or networks, of care.