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OA17 Compassionate communities: engaging with communities to support patients at end of life: a birmingham st. mary’s hospice lived experience
  1. Diana Murungu and
  2. Tina Swani Sarah Woolf
  1. Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, UK


Background Researchers carrying out a rebranding exercise for us in 2006 found that people from Black Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities did not respond to their survey. This appeared to support anecdotal evidence from staff suggesting that the number of BAME patients accessing our services did not reflect the real need.

Aim To increase access to Hospice Care services for people from BAME communities.

Methods From April to July 2007 we used qualitative methods to carry out an exploratory study, to identify barriers to hospice care for patients from BAME communities. Currently we use community development methods to raise awareness of hospice services among BAME communities in Birmingham and Sandwell; while offering training and cultural/spiritual broker services to clinicians increasing their understanding of patients and families from these communities.

Results There was no information about Hospice care services among people from BAME communities. Many people from BAME communities belong to cultural or spiritual groups whose members support each other during times of celebration, illness, death and bereavement. They refer to this support as ‘our way of life’. Death, dying, and cancer are taboo subjects.

Conclusion In 2009 we set up the Compassionate Communities Project (CCP) within our Reaching People Programme (RPP) to increase access to our services for people from BAME communities. CCP enables community groups and service providers to work together in end of life. Representatives from BAME communities help train clinicians on supporting people from their communities in end of life.

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