Great Southern Compassionate Communities

Compassionate Communities is an international public health palliative approach whose aim is to engage broad community support for people approaching the end of their lives. The movement takes initiatives that encourage and enable the whole community to provide care and support to complement those given by health and social service providers.

The Great Southern Compassionate Communities project aims to make our community more knowledgeable about matters to do with death, dying and bereavement; and the care of those affected. Also, to improve access to a broader range of safe and good quality care that will result from this initiative.

A major task for the project will be to influence community attitudes about the end-of-life, and some of the practical issues (such as care) that arise. This will involve thinking and talking about things such as:-

  • Accepting that death, dying and loss are normal/natural
  • Thinking through future treatment and care needs
  • Making an Advance Care Plan to help family, friends, carers and health professionals understand how you would like to be cared for now and in the future.
  • What practical support might be needed to enable terminally ill people to die at home, and how to support family, friends and carers through periods of caring and eventual death.
  • Encouraging broader and shared community support during periods of caring and grief.

The target communities for the project over the two years are:

  • City of Albany (regional centre and major focus of the project initially)
  • Shire of Denmark
  • Shire of Plantagenet
  • Shire of Katanning


Compassionate Communities is an international public health palliative approach whose aim is to engage broad community support for people approaching the end of their lives. The movement takes initiatives that encourage and enable the whole community to provide care and support to complement those given by health and social service providers.

The Great Southern Compassionate Communities project aims to make our community more knowledgeable about matters to do with death, dying and bereavement; and the care of those affected. Also, to improve access to a broader range of safe and good quality care that will result from this initiative.

A major task for the project will be to influence community attitudes about the end-of-life, and some of the practical issues (such as care) that arise. This will involve thinking and talking about things such as:-

  • Accepting that death, dying and loss are normal/natural
  • Thinking through future treatment and care needs
  • Making an Advance Care Plan to help family, friends, carers and health professionals understand how you would like to be cared for now and in the future.
  • What practical support might be needed to enable terminally ill people to die at home, and how to support family, friends and carers through periods of caring and eventual death.
  • Encouraging broader and shared community support during periods of caring and grief.

The target communities for the project over the two years are:

  • City of Albany (regional centre and major focus of the project initially)
  • Shire of Denmark
  • Shire of Plantagenet
  • Shire of Katanning


  • Albany Compassionate City Charter

    12 days ago
    Albany ccc workshop 27nov 10am community members 01

    A Compassionate City Charter ... What is it? How can we create one? How can we get involved?

    The City of Albany and the WA Primary Health Alliance are partnering to develop a Compassionate City Charter for Albany that seeks to bring the whole community together to support people who are experiencing illness, death, loss and grief. Its all about making Albany a compassionate and supportive community to live in.

    Over the next couple of months there will be a number of Compassionate City Charter workshops held including two open invitation events on Wednesday 27th November.

    • Daytime Community Workshop - 10 am -12 pm at the Albany Public Library
    • Evening Business & Sporting Group Workshop - 6 pm-8 pm - Centennial Stadium. Note this will feature guest speaker Jeff Dennis CEO Swan Districts Football Club

    Workshop bookings by 20/11/2019 are essential. RSVP to Vivienne.Gardiner@wapha.org.au or 0472 843 175 (confirming which workshop you will be attending).



    A Compassionate City Charter ... What is it? How can we create one? How can we get involved?

    The City of Albany and the WA Primary Health Alliance are partnering to develop a Compassionate City Charter for Albany that seeks to bring the whole community together to support people who are experiencing illness, death, loss and grief. Its all about making Albany a compassionate and supportive community to live in.

    Over the next couple of months there will be a number of Compassionate City Charter workshops held including two open invitation events on Wednesday 27th November.

    • Daytime Community Workshop - 10 am -12 pm at the Albany Public Library
    • Evening Business & Sporting Group Workshop - 6 pm-8 pm - Centennial Stadium. Note this will feature guest speaker Jeff Dennis CEO Swan Districts Football Club

    Workshop bookings by 20/11/2019 are essential. RSVP to Vivienne.Gardiner@wapha.org.au or 0472 843 175 (confirming which workshop you will be attending).



  • What is the right thing to say?

    about 2 months ago
    Silk ring theory

    Many people struggle to find the right words when faced with a friend or colleague going through tough times. It’s so tempting to respond by saying things like “I know exactly how you feel” or “Oh yes that reminds me of the time when…”. We don’t mean to shut down or take the focus off the other person, but inadvertently we do.

    There are numerous articles that discuss this common communication problem and here are a couple that provide simple approaches that can help us all to handle such conversations better in the future…

    These are just some of the useful resources that can be found in the Podcasts, Talks, Books, Film & Articles to Ignite Conversation, Inspire & Comfort section of the Great Southern Compassionate Communities toolkit.


    Many people struggle to find the right words when faced with a friend or colleague going through tough times. It’s so tempting to respond by saying things like “I know exactly how you feel” or “Oh yes that reminds me of the time when…”. We don’t mean to shut down or take the focus off the other person, but inadvertently we do.

    There are numerous articles that discuss this common communication problem and here are a couple that provide simple approaches that can help us all to handle such conversations better in the future…

    These are just some of the useful resources that can be found in the Podcasts, Talks, Books, Film & Articles to Ignite Conversation, Inspire & Comfort section of the Great Southern Compassionate Communities toolkit.


  • You Only Die Once - Palliative Care WA

    about 2 months ago

    Palliative Care WA has released a new "You Only Die Once" online guide from which you can find a comprehensive suite of really informative resources including

    • Advance Care Plan form
    • Guidance on preparing an Advance Health Directive
    • Enduring Power of Attorney guide
    • Your Money Your Choice guide

    This website is one of several resources that can be accessed through the “Planning Ahead Resources” section of the Compassionate Communities Toolkit.

    Palliative Care WA has released a new "You Only Die Once" online guide from which you can find a comprehensive suite of really informative resources including

    • Advance Care Plan form
    • Guidance on preparing an Advance Health Directive
    • Enduring Power of Attorney guide
    • Your Money Your Choice guide

    This website is one of several resources that can be accessed through the “Planning Ahead Resources” section of the Compassionate Communities Toolkit.

  • What is Palliative Care?

    3 months ago
    What is palliative care brochure page 1

    When you hear the words “Palliative Care” do you assume that means care at the very end of life? If so you are not alone as that is a common misunderstanding.

    ‘End of life’ represents a specific time frame and often narrows the focus to the dying phase allowing opportunities for earlier support to be overlooked.

    Palliative Care Australia has produced this handy information sheet that provides a good explanation of what Palliative Care really means. This information sheet is one of several resources that can be accessed through the “Individuals and Patients Resources” section of the Compassionate Communities Toolkit.



    When you hear the words “Palliative Care” do you assume that means care at the very end of life? If so you are not alone as that is a common misunderstanding.

    ‘End of life’ represents a specific time frame and often narrows the focus to the dying phase allowing opportunities for earlier support to be overlooked.

    Palliative Care Australia has produced this handy information sheet that provides a good explanation of what Palliative Care really means. This information sheet is one of several resources that can be accessed through the “Individuals and Patients Resources” section of the Compassionate Communities Toolkit.



  • Better Health Together - Compassionate Communities - Partnership with the City of Albany

    3 months ago

    In this month’s Better health, together video, WA Primary Health Alliance CEO, Learne Durrington chats to City of Albany Mayor, Dennis Wellington about our partnership in delivering the Compassionate Communities project.

    The project, which targets communities in the Great Southern, is a whole of community approach to increasing awareness of end of life, and empowering people to live and die well, at home where possible.

    Compassionate Communities is the approach we have adopted in delivering the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care initiative.

    Compassionate Communities recognise that caring for one another during a health crisis or personal loss is not solely a task for health and social services, but it is everyone’s responsibility. It is an individual’s network, both formal and informal, that is essential to supporting quality end of life care at home and are most likely to exist when the carer or dying person is part of a community.

    Local governments are often considered to be ‘closest to the people’ not only because of the range of services they provide for the community but also the effect of those services on community health and wellbeing. Some of the great practical examples as a result of our collaboration with the City of Albany include:

    • The inclusion of Compassionate Communities principles in the 2018-2022 Public Health Plan
    • The recognition and inclusion of End of Life as a priority area in the Age Friendly Charter
    • An interactive art project delivered through the Vancouver Arts Centre to stimulate conversation within community about supporting one another to live well at the end of life
    • In Memory of Ordinary Things – an exhibition that includes, a memory wall, storytelling and short film
    • The commencement of the Community Connector position within the City of Albany and working with the Shires of Plantagenet and Denmark to implement network care models in those communities
    To watch the full interview follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtrYTTnQU6s

    In this month’s Better health, together video, WA Primary Health Alliance CEO, Learne Durrington chats to City of Albany Mayor, Dennis Wellington about our partnership in delivering the Compassionate Communities project.

    The project, which targets communities in the Great Southern, is a whole of community approach to increasing awareness of end of life, and empowering people to live and die well, at home where possible.

    Compassionate Communities is the approach we have adopted in delivering the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care initiative.

    Compassionate Communities recognise that caring for one another during a health crisis or personal loss is not solely a task for health and social services, but it is everyone’s responsibility. It is an individual’s network, both formal and informal, that is essential to supporting quality end of life care at home and are most likely to exist when the carer or dying person is part of a community.

    Local governments are often considered to be ‘closest to the people’ not only because of the range of services they provide for the community but also the effect of those services on community health and wellbeing. Some of the great practical examples as a result of our collaboration with the City of Albany include:

    • The inclusion of Compassionate Communities principles in the 2018-2022 Public Health Plan
    • The recognition and inclusion of End of Life as a priority area in the Age Friendly Charter
    • An interactive art project delivered through the Vancouver Arts Centre to stimulate conversation within community about supporting one another to live well at the end of life
    • In Memory of Ordinary Things – an exhibition that includes, a memory wall, storytelling and short film
    • The commencement of the Community Connector position within the City of Albany and working with the Shires of Plantagenet and Denmark to implement network care models in those communities
    To watch the full interview follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtrYTTnQU6s
  • In Memory of Ordinary Things Exhibitions - Albany & Denmark

    3 months ago
    Memoryofordinarythingsalbanyanddenmark

    Great Southern residents have until Friday 16th August to check out the beautiful Community Memorial Walls at the Denmark Community Resource Centre and the Albany Public Library.

    The Memorial Walls celebrate heartfelt stories of loved ones who have died through photographs of often simple household objects. With over 60 images and stories displayed there is something for everyone young and old... don't miss these opportunities to spend some quiet time contemplating grief and the legacies we leave when we die.


    Great Southern residents have until Friday 16th August to check out the beautiful Community Memorial Walls at the Denmark Community Resource Centre and the Albany Public Library.

    The Memorial Walls celebrate heartfelt stories of loved ones who have died through photographs of often simple household objects. With over 60 images and stories displayed there is something for everyone young and old... don't miss these opportunities to spend some quiet time contemplating grief and the legacies we leave when we die.


  • Community Spirit Community Sharing - Dying to Know In Action

    3 months ago
    Beforeidieiwanttolackboard

    Dying to Know in Denmark and Albany this year brought people together to share precious memories, honour their dead, dream of things they wanted to do before they die, watch a beautiful locally made short film about Fathers and Daughters and discuss death related topics that they are passionate about.

    Feedback on the D2K program demonstrated that participants felt stimulated, nourished, safe and heartened by the opportunity to share their fears, pain and dreams within their communities.



    Dying to Know in Denmark and Albany this year brought people together to share precious memories, honour their dead, dream of things they wanted to do before they die, watch a beautiful locally made short film about Fathers and Daughters and discuss death related topics that they are passionate about.

    Feedback on the D2K program demonstrated that participants felt stimulated, nourished, safe and heartened by the opportunity to share their fears, pain and dreams within their communities.



  • Dying to Know - Denmark - 8 August 2019

    4 months ago

    Come along to the Denmark Community Resource Centre at 4pm on Thursday 8th August for the opening of the Memory of Ordinary Things exhibition.

    The Denmark Community have shared their stories of ordinary things that spark beautiful and heartfelt memories of people who have died. By sharing their stories behind, and images of, these objects those memories are brought more vividly to life. The generous sharing of these stories can generate some deep community conversations about death, dying and loss.

    Come along to the Denmark Community Resource Centre at 4pm on Thursday 8th August for the opening of the Memory of Ordinary Things exhibition.

    The Denmark Community have shared their stories of ordinary things that spark beautiful and heartfelt memories of people who have died. By sharing their stories behind, and images of, these objects those memories are brought more vividly to life. The generous sharing of these stories can generate some deep community conversations about death, dying and loss.

  • Palliative Caring: Information for families and carers who are caring for a person with a life-limiting illness or condition

    4 months ago

    Dying to Know Day is officially held on 8th August and if there’s anything that we need to learn about its how to look after someone who is approaching end of life AND how to look after ourselves during the process.

    If you are caring for somebody with a life limiting condition the odds are, at times, you feel you are on a roller coaster of emotions, confusion and possibly loneliness. Where can you turn to for help and guidance?

    Palliative Care WA has updated its “Palliative Caring” guide that is full of practical no-nonsense suggestions for not only looking after your loved ones but also how to look after yourself. To access the booklet click here: https://palliativecarewa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/PalliativeCaringBooklet2019.pdf

    This booklet is one of several resources that can be accessed through the “Carers Resources” section of the Compassionate Communities Toolkit.




    Dying to Know Day is officially held on 8th August and if there’s anything that we need to learn about its how to look after someone who is approaching end of life AND how to look after ourselves during the process.

    If you are caring for somebody with a life limiting condition the odds are, at times, you feel you are on a roller coaster of emotions, confusion and possibly loneliness. Where can you turn to for help and guidance?

    Palliative Care WA has updated its “Palliative Caring” guide that is full of practical no-nonsense suggestions for not only looking after your loved ones but also how to look after yourself. To access the booklet click here: https://palliativecarewa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/PalliativeCaringBooklet2019.pdf

    This booklet is one of several resources that can be accessed through the “Carers Resources” section of the Compassionate Communities Toolkit.




  • Dying to Know - Albany August 2019

    4 months ago
    Dying to know program 2019



    Dying to Know Day is a national day designed to encourage us all to talk, explore and be curious about
    something we often don’t want to talk about; the D-word.

    In Albany we know that this is too important a topic of conversation to hold on just one day so this year the City of Albany is presenting a month long program of events as part of the annual "Dying to Know Day" initiative.

    Check out the "Key Dates" section of this Great Southern Compassionate Communities site to see details of the program of events including..
    • The Memory of Ordinary Things exhibition
    • Memories, Dreams & Reflections short film
    • Storytelling Circle
    • Before I die I want to...
    • Sensory Experience Kit launch
    • Love is Listening: Dementia Without Loneliness documentary
    • Permission to Die exhibition




    Dying to Know Day is a national day designed to encourage us all to talk, explore and be curious about
    something we often don’t want to talk about; the D-word.

    In Albany we know that this is too important a topic of conversation to hold on just one day so this year the City of Albany is presenting a month long program of events as part of the annual "Dying to Know Day" initiative.

    Check out the "Key Dates" section of this Great Southern Compassionate Communities site to see details of the program of events including..
    • The Memory of Ordinary Things exhibition
    • Memories, Dreams & Reflections short film
    • Storytelling Circle
    • Before I die I want to...
    • Sensory Experience Kit launch
    • Love is Listening: Dementia Without Loneliness documentary
    • Permission to Die exhibition