As specialists in palliative care, Strathcarron Hospice understands that with the right support, people with life limiting conditions, their carers and the bereaved can live well right to the end. The New Public Health Model of Palliative Care recognises that dying is not just a medical issue and that social support is often more important than medical. It promotes the importance of social relationships and encourages engagement with communities to identify the people and assets that can provide end of life support.
At Strathcarron Hospice we have adopted an Assets-Based Community Development approach to enable us to understand what communities can do for themselves, what they need a little help with, and what they need salaried professionals to do for them. We recognise that it is only when agencies start organising themselves the way that people organise their lives, instead of expecting people to organise their lives around services and silos, then true partnerships between citizens and institutional systems will emerge.
As a Nurture Development Learning site, we set out to discover the strengths and talents which exist in our local communities. Working in three diverse communities across Forth Valley, we have created time and a safe space for citizens, associations, local practitioners and helping organisations to learn together how to make invisible assets visible and productive. We have provided opportunities to break down traditional structures that may stifle creativity.
In doing this, we have moved from the traditional model of volunteer Compassionate Neighbours towards communities where everyone’s contribution is valued and people feel connected to each other. We aim to create the conditions to support citizens to come together to create a community where people who are aging, dying or grieving can be supported, with institutions (like the hospice) being there to provide specialist help when invited to do so.
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