I recently attended the Asia Pacific Hospice conference. One of the keynote speakers was Prof Allan Kellehear who has spearheaded the Compassionate City Initiative initially in Australia and the UK and through international Public Health Palliative Care conferences, he is promoting this approach worldwide.
This identifies that if we have a chronic illness only about 5% of our care is provided by the formal health care sector and the major part of an illness, ageing, long-term care, death and bereavement is lived out within families and communities.
He talks about the fact that we are encouraged to take responsibility for our own health but sometimes the health and social support needs are beyond our own resources. We rely on family, friends and community support to help live long and healthy lives but also for care during illness, dying and bereavement. This support not only improves care but can impact on future mental health of family carers following a family member’s illness and death.
The Compassionate City initiative can be harnessed together with the international Compassion Charter to build compassionate communities. HPCA initiated the Building Compassionate Communities campaign in 2013 and we would like to add the practical ideas expressed in the Compassionate City Charter developed by Prof Kellehear and his colleagues and partners in cities in different parts of the world. The Compassionate City Charter may be a useful document to guide HPCA and provincial Hospice Association advocacy initiatives.
Have a look at the elements contributing to the Compassionate City Charter listed below.
Good luck with your work and advocacy work!! Remember that Zodwa tells us we are all important advocates for hospice and palliative care.
The Compassionate City Charter is a framework of 12 social changes that lead communities towards being compassionate cities. This is an international initiative that was released May 2015.
- Schools – Will have guidance documents for dying, death, loss and care.
- Workplaces – Will have guidance documents for dying, death, loss and care.
- Trade Unions – Will have guidance documents for dying, death, loss and care.
- Churches and Temples – Will have at least one dedicated group for End Of life (EOL) care.
- Hospices and Nursing Homes – will have community development programs that focus on EOL care and will involve local area citizens.
- Museums and Art Galleries – will hold exhibitions on the experience of ageing, dying, death and loss or care.
- Our city will celebrate and highlight the most creative compassionate organization, event or individual(s) through an incentive scheme, for example a “Mayor’s Award.”
- Through various forms of media, our city will publicly showcase our local government policies, services, funding opportunities, partnerships, and public events that address our compassionate concerns. As well, all EOL services will be encouraged to share this material.
- Our city will work with local social or print media to encourage an annual city-wide short story or art competition to raise awareness of ageing, dying, death, loss or caring.
- All services and policies will demonstrate an understanding of how diversity shapes the experience of ageing, dying, death, loss and care.
- We will encourage and support institutions for the homeless and the imprisoned to have support plans in place for EOL care.
- Our city will establish and review these targets and goals in the first two years. Thereafter will add one new sector annually to our action plan.