Working with communities around death and loss

Dr John Rosenberg, Dr Claire Hepper and Dr John Endacott

This session focuses on three projects that explore the role of health services in working with communities.

Living and dying at home requires a complex constellation of factors to be in place for dying people, their carers and networks, and health care services. What are the features of health care services and practitioners that get in the way of dying at home? What helps? John Rosenberg will map out these factors and ask you to consider how they impact upon how communities and services can work together.

Shannon's Bridge was formed in central Victoria 2016 in response to a gap in formal care networks. The team connects patients and families with supports during dying, death and grief and often are the 'bridge' between formal and informal caring networks. By building up the 'compassion currency' of communities, Shannon's Bridge works to increase resilience in the face of loss at community and individual levels. Claire Hepper will share some of the exciting outcomes of this approach.

If death is truly a social event, rather than solely a medical one, then research and clinical care should be accompanied by community engagement activities around death and dying. On the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, a series of focus groups were undertaken to understand end-of-life care experiences and networks of care from a consumer perspective. John Endacott will discuss the underlying principles of the focus groups, the outcomes, and how he hopes they can be used to engage the community in driving cultural change.