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Symposium: The National Compassionate Practice Forum: Developing Compassionate Communities in Australia from the ground up (Oxley Room)

Title: The National Compassionate Communities Practice Forum - Developing Compassionate Communities in Australia from the Ground Up

In recognising a need to build community capacity for a public health approach to palliative care in Australia, The GroundSwell Project, launched the National Compassionate Communities Practice Forum at the beginning of 2018. This learning network comprising of 8 sites across 5 states has been actively pursuing a community development approach to establish compassionate communities in each of their areas supported by GroundSwell’s Compassionate Communities National Lead and the Caring at End of Life Research team from Western Sydney University.

The GroundSwell Project invited expressions of interest for the forum and received over 30 applications. Of these, 8 community groups were chosen based on their existing knowledge of compassionate communities, investment from their community and a demonstrated understanding of community development principles. The groups have been supported by access to community development support, learning opportunities in research and practice and an online hub to share resources, tools and experiences.

The practice forum set out to learn from the experiences of the 8 community groups in order to inform future practice. The differing geographical positioning, socio-economic and cultural settings have offered insights into the varying roadblocks and challenges that communities are faced with in initiating this work and will be valuable to draw upon as the movement grows across Australia.

This presentation will be the first time the community leaders from the 8 sites will come together publicly to share their insights, the barriers they’ve faced and successful initiatives they have implemented. This will be a unique opportunity to hear real experiences of developing a public health approach from the community members perspective and how we might address some of the issues faced as the Compassionate Communities movement continues to gain traction in Australia.