Background Social relationships are effective at supporting people to live well (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, Baker, et al., 2015. Perspect Psychol Sci. 10:227). Traditional hospice approaches focus on services: problems are defined externally to the community. Over 80% of wellbeing determinants are contingent on connection and mobilisation of community assets (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2020).
Aims To explore an ABCD approach (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993) in four communities to:
Discover the treasure trove of skills, knowledge and experience that exists within residents and communities.
Connect and mobilise these resources.
Work alongside people to build resilient communities where people can live well and be active participants right to the end of life.
Cultivate deeper, more reciprocal relationships with local communities and to provide appropriate support as required.
Methods Using an ABCD approach, four Community Builders (CBs) worked in four locations to discover and connect residents in order to identify what resources the community already had, what they needed help to achieve, and what they needed professionals or outsiders to do for them. The progress and impact of using this approach has been evaluated using ‘8 touchstones of ABCD’ (Russell, 2021).
Treasure maps have been developed and shared with residents.
CBs have connected people in communities who decided together what mattered most. Priorities included a memorial bench in a local park, a way of marking Remembrance Day in lockdown.
Residents requested education and support from the hospice to increase their understanding of dying and grieving.
Storytelling sessions about life in WW2 were provided to schools by a 90-year-old resident.
Conclusion The hospice has developed strong links and a reciprocal relationship with these communities. There is a raised awareness of the capacity and ability to co-create care at end of life. The asset based community development approach has become a key part of the hospice strategy and has influenced the development of core services.
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