Compassionate Communities: New Waterside project asks local people to undertake small acts of compassion for people receiving end of life care.
Compassionate Communities, an internationally recognised approach to care for the dying, was launched today in the North West. Beginning in the Waterside area, the pilot project will be led by Foyle Hospice and supported by Macmillan GPs from the Western Trust.
Speaking following the launch, Western Local Commissioning Group Chair, Dr Ciaran Mullan said:
“The Western Local Commissioning Group is delighted to invest in the development of the Compassionate Communities project. We have made available £70,000 to Foyle Hospice to enable them to engage and empower local people and build a network of community support and care. End of life care is everyone’s responsibility and this pilot will ensure that people approaching the end of their lives get the care and support they need from within their own community. This project will help build the confidence of local people to respond with compassion and help equip them to provide support and care for those living with, and affected by, advanced illness.”
Whilst the pilot will be initiated by Foyle Hospice it is based on developing strong partnerships with other interested groups. The current involvement of Hillcrest House, Caw and Nelson Drive Community Groups and the three GP practices in Waterside Health Centre demonstrates the genuine importance of end of life care to them.
The overall aim of the initiative is to create capacity in the community to support people and their families in living well to the end of their lives. There are three elements to the project. The first element involves developing networks of volunteer “hospice neighbours”. Central to this is providing the training and support to the volunteers who will deliver practical and emotional help at a difficult time in people’s lives.
Community engagement, the second element, involves building links with interested groups to develop models and resources which allow greater public awareness of, and involvement in, care and support of those who are approaching end of life at home. The third element is general awareness raising.
The Western Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) played a key role in bringing together the healthcare professionals, voluntary and community representatives and service users and carers involved in making the project happen.
Dr Brendan O’Hare, Western ICP Clinical Lead, said:
“This initiative highlights how, alongside our local commissioning and Trust colleagues, and community and voluntary partners, we can make a real difference to vulnerable people and their families. A key benefit of this type of community-led support is the help individuals and families will receive in managing life with frailty and long term ill health issues. This project demonstrates a new approach to palliative care reflecting the preference of the majority of people affected by life limiting illness who wish to be cared for in their own home.”