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1 A hospice’s approach to equipping a community to live with dying, death and grief
  1. Barbara Gale and
  2. Jessica Hulbert
  1. St Nicholas Hospice Care, Bury St Edmunds, UK


Traditional hospice care frequently focuses on expensive inpatient care. However, a different strategy is required to meet more people’s needs and ensure financial sustainability, relevant as more hospices face financial difficulty. A UK hospice has embarked on a strategy to deliver a service which encompasses a public health approach and was developed using feedback received from more than 40 interviews with people and professionals about their experiences of dying, death, caring and grief.

Alongside redesigning the provision of direct care this hospice has piloted a method, using an Asset Based Community Development approach, to equip a community to understand and enhance their capacity, skills and knowledge and return the ownership of dying back into the community, closer to the family network of care.

The results of this approach have shown a care home strengthening their connections to local GP surgery GSF meetings, other professionals, and their Parish Nurse. Strong connections between people themselves have been realised, even reconnecting people who went to school together. The results demonstrate how conversations with the community have improved people’s death literacy. As a result, the hospice has developed new tools and procedures for working with care homes.

This method of working with a community has enabled the hospice to strengthen connections between statutory services, community groups and hospice provision and develop new ways of working with care homes. This pilot has demonstrated the impact a hospice can have by taking a public health approach to palliative care and provides a model for future practice.

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