Advocates for community-based approaches to palliative care say the launch of a new “practice forum” and digital resource hub will help improve end-of-life care.

The GroundSwell Project is launching the initiative that will see eight communities around the country engage in the so-called compassionate communities model of palliative care in their local area.

The initiative has been launched with the support of Bupa.

Compassionate communities are described as “a global movement to engage communities to think about how care is provided to people who are dying.”

The GroundSwell Project, an Australian movement to improve death literacy, said it will support the communities by offering on-the-ground community development expertise, a digital resource hub and access to a network of leading practitioners and researchers.

“Learnings from the Compassionate Communities movement internationally show that a collective, community approach to end of life acts to transform the end-of-life experience for individuals and their loved ones,” the project said.

The resources developed through the initiative will be widely available for interested communities and organisations to access, according to Jessie Williams, executive director, The GroundSwell Project.

“We will start working with the eight communities we identify in March and April to build the resources that will be available to anyone across Australia,” she told Australian Ageing Agenda. 

Ms Williams said the resource will contain features including:

  • fact sheets and other downloadable resources and tools to use when building local participation
  • stories of communities in Australia and around the world doing this work
  • webinars and learning opportunities.

Over the past seven years The GroundSwell Project has being working with a range of organisations including healthcare providers and hospitals on Compassionate Communities projects.

Last year it hosted the inaugural Compassionate Communities Conference in Sydney which brought together aged care providers, end-of-life specialists, academics and policy makers to advance community-based palliative care.

Dwayne Crombie, managing director of Bupa Health Insurance, said the focus of encouraging early conversations, providing access to the right information at the right time and co-ordinating services across the community would add to peoples’ dignity, respect and choice.

Community groups interested in being part of the model can submit an expression of interest in March.

More information is available here 

Related AAA coverage: Aged care providers central to community-led palliative care

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