Academic literature on palliative care has for a long time been weighted towards symptom management and health services research, with the perspective of the clinician being paramount. But, to avoid biases and to ensure we have a holistic picture of experiences of dying – and what matters most to those at the end of their life, and those who love them – we need a range of perspectives and disciplines to shape our understanding.
Professor Allan Kellehear talks about how professional accounts of death and dying, whether from the medical field or the anthropological field, have “manufacture[d] horror” by describing experiences of denial, grief and regret, depression, and even seeing a fear of death as the ultimate driver of the human experience.
But, by emphasising the experience of the “insider” when it comes to death and dying, Professor Kellehear argues, we can rediscover some of the humour, the surprising insights and the feelings of love and connection that those who are dying encounter in their final months, weeks and hours.
With this in mind, Compassionate Communities UK have launched a call for abstracts for their July Conference, Compassionate Cities: Igniting CommUnity.
Alongside their keynote speakers, they are seeking abstract submissions for 60-minute workshops or 20-minute presentations about a compassionate community approach in practice.
Whether you have experience of taking a compassionate community approach from within an educational institution, workplace, health service, social care setting, a faith group, community space, prison or elsewhere, CC-UK would love to hear what you have learned, what you have seen bring people together, and what difference it has made.