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P-74 Knowledge is power? Why community-centric learning and exploration of death, dying and loss could help tackle inequalities in death systems
  1. Mary Hodgson and
  2. Jan Noble
  1. St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK


Background The public health call for public engagement around death, dying and loss has led to initiatives around community engagement to encourage greater community involvement in end of life. One part of this is public education and death literacy, the idea that we must generate knowledge, skills and confidence for people about the end of life. While there are many opportunities, this can also create a risk of only sharing knowledge that we know of as institutions, which may reproduce inequality or significant knowledge gaps.

Aims This presentation will outline how at St Christopher’s we are supporting a type of learning experience and opportunity for members of the public that focuses on people with lived experience generating and sharing knowledge, and community members deciding what knowledge and skills they’d like to share and acquire.

Methods We have focused on using Community Development methods and strengths-based approaches to death literacy, including reframing public education into community learning and development opportunities. Our methods focus on peer-peer learning and exchange, and the assumption people have knowledge to share, rather than possess a knowledge deficit. We work in community settings with people with lived experience who become peer learning facilitators and engage in equitable exchanges based on reciprocity rather than hierarchy, to attempt to redress the balance of knowledge about the end of life and inequities of knowledge that exist. This also benefits St Christopher’s as we reflect on greater change and challenge we must enact.

Results To date the learning courses, workshops and initiatives have created an opportunity for hundreds of people to explore death, dying and loss and to develop skills, confidence and capacity. This includes young people, people receiving support from local charity and voluntary sector, for example, people with learning disabilities, and different faith groups.

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