Great Southern Compassionate Communities

Compassionate Communities is an international public health project 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 project 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


  • Death Cafes - What are they all about?

    4 months ago

    Albany's Death Cafe is in its sixth year of existence and is still going strong so its interesting to see this ABC article from Canberra about the benefits of increasing community literacy about death through death cafes... https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-21/cappuccino-cremation-conversation-would-you-visit-death-cafe/11033430

    Have you ever wondered what happens at a Death Cafe? If so, why not come along to the Albany Death Cafe which meets on the last Friday of every month at 2 pm - 4 pm in the back room of the Three Anchors at Middleton Beach. Order yourself a coffee at the counter and join the group for a chat about any aspect of death, dying and grief that interests or intrigues you. All welcome.

    If you are looking for a Death Cafe outside of Albany check out this website

    https://deathcafe.com/c/Australia/

    Albany's Death Cafe is in its sixth year of existence and is still going strong so its interesting to see this ABC article from Canberra about the benefits of increasing community literacy about death through death cafes... https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-21/cappuccino-cremation-conversation-would-you-visit-death-cafe/11033430

    Have you ever wondered what happens at a Death Cafe? If so, why not come along to the Albany Death Cafe which meets on the last Friday of every month at 2 pm - 4 pm in the back room of the Three Anchors at Middleton Beach. Order yourself a coffee at the counter and join the group for a chat about any aspect of death, dying and grief that interests or intrigues you. All welcome.

    If you are looking for a Death Cafe outside of Albany check out this website

    https://deathcafe.com/c/Australia/

  • How do you help others to prepare an Advance Care Plan?

    5 months ago

    We hear a lot about the importance of Advance Care Planning but the practicalities of preparing one can feel daunting. How do you even start the conversation with your family and close friends?

    However help is available, and one source of information is Advance Care Planning Australia which provides a telephone service as well as on-line guidance.

    Links to this and other helpful resources can also be found on the “Planning Ahead Resources” section of the Great Southern Compassionate Communities Toolkit. Here you will also find links to a wide range of other highly informative resources that can help you and your family plan for the inevitable.


    We hear a lot about the importance of Advance Care Planning but the practicalities of preparing one can feel daunting. How do you even start the conversation with your family and close friends?

    However help is available, and one source of information is Advance Care Planning Australia which provides a telephone service as well as on-line guidance.

    Links to this and other helpful resources can also be found on the “Planning Ahead Resources” section of the Great Southern Compassionate Communities Toolkit. Here you will also find links to a wide range of other highly informative resources that can help you and your family plan for the inevitable.


  • Compassionate Communities Advocate Wins Citizen of the Year

    5 months ago
    The Great Southern team has partnered with the City of Albany on an innovative Compassionate Communities project under the umbrella of the national "Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care Measure". An important component of this initiative is raising community awareness and encouraging community dialogue about death, dying and loss. In a clear demonstration of the City's commitment to this important subject the City of Albany named Kate Thomas, co-founder of Albany's Death Cafe, as its Citizen of the Year at this year's Australia Day celebrations.

    Kate, who is a recently retired nurse and funeral celebrant, co-founded the Death Cafe...

    The Great Southern team has partnered with the City of Albany on an innovative Compassionate Communities project under the umbrella of the national "Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care Measure". An important component of this initiative is raising community awareness and encouraging community dialogue about death, dying and loss. In a clear demonstration of the City's commitment to this important subject the City of Albany named Kate Thomas, co-founder of Albany's Death Cafe, as its Citizen of the Year at this year's Australia Day celebrations.

    Kate, who is a recently retired nurse and funeral celebrant, co-founded the Death Cafe five years ago with Irene Montefiore. Since then they have facilitated monthly get-togethers for people who want to discuss death, dying and grief. Importantly, through this work Kate is an advocate for advance care planning which the Compassionate Communities project is championing.

    When putting together the EOI to the Department of Health for the Greater Choice in At Home Palliative Care Measure, Lesley Pearson, Great Southern Regional Manager approached Dennis Wellington, Mayor of the City of Albany to partner in the project. Gaining this commitment from the Mayor from the outset of the project has allowed co-design and co-ownership of the project to the extent that a Compassionate Communities project team member is co-located at the City of Albany. A senior City of Albany Executive sits on the Compassionate Communities Steering Committee and the City is, among other things, developing a range of community engagement activities focused on death, dying and grief through its community services teams. Annmaree Lynch, the Compassionate Communities Project Officer at the City of Albany, has engaged with all levels of the organisation to raise awareness of the project. Recently City of Albany Councillors and staff have completed surveys to provide baseline information on their awareness of, and comfort levels with, end of life matters including advance care planning which will be used to inform future initiatives.

    Given that Annmaree only commenced at the City of Albany at the end of May 2018 it is impressive that the City has taken on board its community ambassadorial role for the project so emphatically. By naming Kate as Albany's Citizen of the Year specifically for her Death Cafe work the City of Albany has publicly reinforced its commitment to bringing the taboo topic of death and dying into the public arena.

    As a result of the project there is broader community awareness of the Death Cafe and the importance of dialogue about end of life matters including advance care planning as well as greater awareness among City of Albany Councillors and staff about end of life matters and the importance of broadening community supports for people at the end of life and those caring for them.

    WA Primary Health Alliance is also funding the development of an Aged Friendly Charter within the City of Albany. The Charter will be guided by the King's Fund paper "Making our health and care systems fit for an ageing population". Through this collaboration with the City of Albany, WA Primary Health Alliance is better able to engage with community and consumers as well as providers to understand and meet the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged people. The overall objective is to ensure the delivery of the right services, at the right time in the right place.


  • Hot off the press - National Palliative Care Strategy released March 2019

    6 months ago

    The Australian Government Department of Health has just released an updated National Palliative Care Strategy which has been welcomed by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM)..

    ANZSPM President, Professor Meera Agar, said: “The national strategy is an important acknowledgement of the critical role of palliative care services across Australia supporting people with a life limiting illness. ANZSPM is pleased that the updated strategy demonstrates the combined commitment of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to working together to ensure equitable palliative care for all people with a life limiting illness as well as their families and carers.”

    The strategy sets out a shared direction for palliative care services across Australia having regard to the following six guiding principles:

    • Palliative care is person-centred care
    • Death is a part of life
    • Carers are valued and receive the care they need
    • Care is accessible
    • Everyone has a role to play in palliative care
    • Care is high quality and evidence-based.
    To access the strategy click on this link: National Palliative Care Strategy


    The Australian Government Department of Health has just released an updated National Palliative Care Strategy which has been welcomed by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM)..

    ANZSPM President, Professor Meera Agar, said: “The national strategy is an important acknowledgement of the critical role of palliative care services across Australia supporting people with a life limiting illness. ANZSPM is pleased that the updated strategy demonstrates the combined commitment of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to working together to ensure equitable palliative care for all people with a life limiting illness as well as their families and carers.”

    The strategy sets out a shared direction for palliative care services across Australia having regard to the following six guiding principles:

    • Palliative care is person-centred care
    • Death is a part of life
    • Carers are valued and receive the care they need
    • Care is accessible
    • Everyone has a role to play in palliative care
    • Care is high quality and evidence-based.
    To access the strategy click on this link: National Palliative Care Strategy


  • Do you know what you need to do following a death?

    6 months ago

    Death of a loved one is not something that many people like to discuss but it’s the one thing that we will all have to face at some point in our lives. The more prepared we are now the easier it will be when we have to deal with the death of a family member or close friend.

    When we experience loss we usually find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster. To make things harder there is so much to handle when a loved one dies. A myriad of questions arises such as:-

    • What are the first things you need to do when a loved one dies?
    • Who do you have to notify about the death?
    • What if you can’t afford to pay for funeral expenses?
    • You even need to think about dealing with social media accounts.

    So where can you get help and guidance? The Department of Human Services has put together a range of clear information that aims to answer all these questions and more.

    We don’t have to wait until we are dealing with bereavement to take a look at the information. Why don’t you take the time now to inform yourself (and your social circle) so that we are all better prepared when the time comes?

    Check out the “What to do following death” link on the “Planning Ahead Resources” section of the Toolkit on this page.

    Feel free to browse the toolkit where you will also find links to a wide range of other highly informative resources that can help you and your family plan for the inevitable.


    Death of a loved one is not something that many people like to discuss but it’s the one thing that we will all have to face at some point in our lives. The more prepared we are now the easier it will be when we have to deal with the death of a family member or close friend.

    When we experience loss we usually find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster. To make things harder there is so much to handle when a loved one dies. A myriad of questions arises such as:-

    • What are the first things you need to do when a loved one dies?
    • Who do you have to notify about the death?
    • What if you can’t afford to pay for funeral expenses?
    • You even need to think about dealing with social media accounts.

    So where can you get help and guidance? The Department of Human Services has put together a range of clear information that aims to answer all these questions and more.

    We don’t have to wait until we are dealing with bereavement to take a look at the information. Why don’t you take the time now to inform yourself (and your social circle) so that we are all better prepared when the time comes?

    Check out the “What to do following death” link on the “Planning Ahead Resources” section of the Toolkit on this page.

    Feel free to browse the toolkit where you will also find links to a wide range of other highly informative resources that can help you and your family plan for the inevitable.


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  • End of Life Awareness - Community Survey

    6 months ago

    WA Primary Health Alliance is working to improve access to safe, quality palliative care at home through a Compassionate Communities project. Compassionate Communities is an international public health project the aim of which is to engage broad community support for people approaching the end of their lives.

    This survey aims to gather information to understand how our community, including our workplaces, support each other through times of dying, death and loss and how we are discussing and planning for our future care needs.

    We know for many this may be a confronting topic to be talking about, however it is an important subject which we will all have to face eventually. The information you share will help inform future community awareness campaigns.

    The survey should only take two minutes to complete and your response will be anonymous.

    To access the survey click on this link: End-of-Life-Awareness-Survey

    WA Primary Health Alliance is working to improve access to safe, quality palliative care at home through a Compassionate Communities project. Compassionate Communities is an international public health project the aim of which is to engage broad community support for people approaching the end of their lives.

    This survey aims to gather information to understand how our community, including our workplaces, support each other through times of dying, death and loss and how we are discussing and planning for our future care needs.

    We know for many this may be a confronting topic to be talking about, however it is an important subject which we will all have to face eventually. The information you share will help inform future community awareness campaigns.

    The survey should only take two minutes to complete and your response will be anonymous.

    To access the survey click on this link: End-of-Life-Awareness-Survey

  • Compassionate Communities Toolkit

    9 months ago

    The Compassionate Communities Toolkit (see side panel) has been collated to allow easy access to a wide range of information about end of life matters in Australia, with a key focus on services and information that is most pertinent to Western Australian communities.

    Whether you are looking for local palliative care services to help you care for someone who is very ill or grieving, or are an aged care service provider who is looking for specific information about looking after palliative care patients or are just generally interested in the Compassionate Communities movement the Toolkit will provide links to an array of information to meet your needs.

    The Toolkit will be regularly updated as new information becomes available and we welcome feedback on its contents. In particular if you become aware of any additional information that would be helpful to share it would be most appreciated if you could email Christine.Grogan@wapha.org.au.

    WAPHA has sourced this Toolkit information from a broad range of sources and respected organisations. To the best of our knowledge these resources are up to date and accurate however WAPHA cannot vouch for the efficacy of the information provided.

    The Compassionate Communities Toolkit (see side panel) has been collated to allow easy access to a wide range of information about end of life matters in Australia, with a key focus on services and information that is most pertinent to Western Australian communities.

    Whether you are looking for local palliative care services to help you care for someone who is very ill or grieving, or are an aged care service provider who is looking for specific information about looking after palliative care patients or are just generally interested in the Compassionate Communities movement the Toolkit will provide links to an array of information to meet your needs.

    The Toolkit will be regularly updated as new information becomes available and we welcome feedback on its contents. In particular if you become aware of any additional information that would be helpful to share it would be most appreciated if you could email Christine.Grogan@wapha.org.au.

    WAPHA has sourced this Toolkit information from a broad range of sources and respected organisations. To the best of our knowledge these resources are up to date and accurate however WAPHA cannot vouch for the efficacy of the information provided.