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P-221 Coaching from the side-lines: co-developing a ‘compassionate community’ support group
  1. Wayne de Leeuw and
  2. Lynn Porch
  1. Dorothy House Hospice Care, Wiltshire, UK


Background Adapting the principle that ‘care for one another at times of crisis and loss is not simply a task solely for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility’ (Kellehear, 2015) and a need to find cost effective methods of delivering more support to more people; an innovative model of ‘drop in support’ was developed.

Aims of the Model A ‘light touch’, coaching style of group facilitation has been developed to enable anyone affected by the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness to develop coping strategies and in turn support others

To provide a safe setting for anyone affected by the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness to meet weekly in a supported and facilitated environment

Attendance will be open to any individual who is affected by a life-limiting illness, be they a ‘patient’, ‘carer’ or someone bereaved.

Results People with lived experience of illness, caring and grieving are supporting one another with compassion, requiring little ‘professional’ intervention. The cost to facilitate these sessions to such large numbers is a fraction of those usually associated with a traditional hospice day care. Attendance every week is in excess of over 40 people and three new groups have been set up in two new centres to meet increasing demand. Outside of the ‘group’ setting, self-sustaining local support networks have been established and shared, decreasing reliance on traditional public services. The model of coaching, empowerment and self-sustainability can be demonstrated by the addition of a new volunteer facilitator who originally joined the group two years ago as a bereaved widow.

Conclusion By creating a safe space and nurturing a compassionate community approach, people are creating their own networks of support and in turn decreasing their reliance on the health and social care system.

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