By: JP Leiva
In the last few decades we have become accustomed to the idea—and the practice—that the
achievement of optimal health and wellbeing in every nation must be a partnership with government,
health services and the every major sector of the community. Health is everyone’s responsibility.
Schools and businesses are just as likely to be engaged in changing policies and practices in matters
to do with the health of students and employees as hospitals and community clinics.
Today, the call for a ‘health promoting palliative care’ or for the development of compassionate communities is a parallel call for just this type of engagement in matters to do with dying, death, loss and care. It is a movement towards the recognition that end-of-life care is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone has a role to play, however modestly. In the last 100 years of western European cultural
life we have witnessed a growing disconnect between the basic family unit and their wider connections
with extended family and broader community networks. At the same time, we have witnessed a
rising dependency on professional health services. Today, that set of cultural developments has led to a polarized view of care for older people, the chronically and terminally ill, as well as the bereaved.
Care for these populations is now widely viewed as the responsibility of family or of health services.
This polarized view is both an incorrect and unsustainable cultural and health policy position.
Communities are able to do more to support families and health services and to bring practical resources and important supports to both.
We have witnessed the success of these types of contributions in wider public health movements and we are now seeing the beginnings of them in end-of-life care. In this way, it is unlikely that this is some temporary ‘new policy fashion’. Health promotion and community engagement in end-of-life care is an extension of the growing acknowledgement of modern populations that to achieve optimal health and wellbeing in the 21st century a community engagement approach to health must extend its active concern to the end-of-life itself. FIT for CARE is inspired in this compassionate communities and we wish to provide our modestly support as sporty community to Pallitive Care in three countries: Spain, Costa Rica and El Salvador, also educating the population about what is Palliative Care and how the patients can acces to this service.
Allan Kellehear 2013.
Compassionate communities: end-of-life care as everyone’s responsibility.