World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) 2023 will be on the 14th of October. This year’s theme is Compassionate Communities: Together for Palliative Care. WHPCD is an annual unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Each year, through much thought and deliberation, a theme is selected. Last year’s theme was Healing Hearts and Communities. Many people across the globe identified with this theme because of the COVID-19 pandemic, war and conflicts that have led to the loss of millions of lives.
This year’s theme builds on last year’s and the continued need to come together to support communities and each other now more than ever. Palliative care is a shared responsibility. Not only does it improve the quality of life for people facing serious illnesses and death as soon as the illness is diagnosed but it also encompasses the health and well-being of caregivers which includes grief and bereavement support.
The Compassionate Communities movement is growing under the leadership of the Public Health and Palliative Care International organization (www.phpci.org). PHPCI is dedicated to growing the number of compassionate communities of all kinds around the world and in partnership with WHPCA is emphasizing the importance of working together to realize this goal, as it enhances the delivery of palliative care worldwide.
Healthcare systems are only part of the equation in delivering holistic care to people with serious illness. Compassionate communities respond to needs in the community. A compassionate community improves people’s quality of life, those living with serious illnesses together with their families throughout caregiving and bereavement. This is done by encouraging people to advocate and provide assistance and practical support within their communities. Compassionate communities will help to build greater care capacity in communities to provide physical, emotional, social, and practical support to those who need it.
A compassionate community can be found in a geographical location, a social group, people united by a common cause, and with the help of technology in an online community. Compassionate communities widen the circle of caring. With the world’s population aging in different regions, the number of caregivers and the support needed from those caregivers is expected to increase.
Compassionate communities have been known to impact people’s lives in many ways. They help patients and caregivers as they experience death, dying, caregiving, and grieving. They facilitate improved quality of community life and increased mental health support throughout the palliative and end-of-life journey. Compassionate communities help in increasing awareness of access to palliative care.
We will keep you posted about the resources and the toolkit to be used in 2023 soon and will continue to update you in the coming months. Let’s go out into all our communities with compassion and impact people’s lives with the theme Compassionate Communities: Together for Palliative Care.