Background Common headlines and perceptions: Death is a taboo subject (Dying Matters, 2011); Hospices are a place to go and die (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization); Isolation is an increasing factor to illness (Age UK, 2018; Iliffe, Kharicha, Harari et al., 2007).
These have been the catalyst for hospices to explore beyond clinical intervention and engage resources to help create a world where communities talk openly about death and dying, everyone lives life to the full and dies with dignity in the place of their choice, knowing their loved ones are supported.
Aims To increase awareness of services earlier, facilitate conversations about death and dying, increase wellbeing, and decrease isolation by establishing regular community cafés/coffee mornings and a network of trained Compassionate Neighbours.
Methods Employ a Community Development Manager to:
Establish volunteer–led community cafés/coffee mornings in target areas
Lead Compassionate Neighbours Project equipping them with knowledge of hospice services and confidence to engage in end of life conversations
Facilitate regular Dying Matters conversations using interactive activities and ‘What’s the Plan’ card prompts at coffee mornings; host Death Café
Develop partnership and collaborations with community organisations e.g. Dementia Action Alliance.
Establish regular monitoring and evaluation using questionnaires, peer evaluators and user forums.
Community Café open three days a week at Living Well Centres
Established two satellite coffee mornings/Pop up cafés
64 Compassionate Neighbours/24 matches by Jan 2019
Increased participation in services by wider community.
Conclusions Early results are showing increased confidence and cohesion between Compassionate Neighbours, and successful matches with community members who otherwise might face dying in isolation. There is a willingness to explore end of life, including interest in Advance Care Plans with attendees to the café. Regular visits to coffee mornings/cafés will increase awareness of hospice services.