Great Southern Compassionate Communities

Compassionate Communities is a global movement that encourages our whole community to be involved in supporting people, their families and carers through serious illness or at the end of life.

What we rejoice in is the circumstances of someone who is loved in their community, whose community feels that they have the capacity to step forward and that person and their family are able to accept that love and care and then things [caring for someone] actually work beautifully.

Associate Professor Dr Kirsten Auret

The support we can provide as friends, family, neighbours and community members can give an unwell or dying person and their family much greater choices about where and how they want to be cared for up to and including their dying moments. These choices add greatly to their quality of life during this time and after.

This is especially true in rural communities where people often rely more on their support networks.

It is estimated when someone is seriously unwell or dying only a small amount of their time is spent receiving formal care from medical practitioners and support services and their remaining time is spent receiving support from family, friends and community.

This support is often referred to as ‘informal’ care or network care and can be as simple as putting the bins out or dropping the kids to school. It is called informal or network care as it generally involves coordinating support among a group of people who share the load by forming a network. Offering, asking for and accepting support can enable someone to have their end of life wishes and this can help immensely with bereavement.

Compassionate Communities is also about encouraging people:

  • to talk more openly about dying and make ‘end of life’ a more comfortable subject
  • to share their own end of life wishes
  • to accept support when it’s offered, even if it’s early on when they don’t think they need it.
  • to feel comfortable approaching someone who is seriously ill, dying or going through a hard time for another reason.

Compassionate Communities recognises that social connection and belonging is important to everyone’s health and well-being not just at the end of life.

The City of Albany and WA Primary Health Alliance with the Albany community have developed a Compassionate Albany Charter to encourage each of us to embrace the values of compassion in our everyday lives.

Heather and Tony’s Story –
A Case Study in Community Kindness

Heather and Tony’s Story – End of Life at Home is an inspiring 12-minute film about a local couple, Tony Speechley and his wife Heather Sanderson and the people who supported them through the final months of Tony’s terminal illness.

More information on Compassionate Communities

Great Southern Compassionate Communities

A hub of information and resources on Community Health and Palliative Care for those in the Great Southern Region, brought to you by the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA)

City of Albany - Connected Communities

A resource for members of the community wanting to embrace and enhance community connection through a variety of different programs and organisations.

Compassionate Communities Network

Research, publications and resources on Compassionate Communities and Palliative Care in Australia and New Zealand. 

From our community

I belong to a community where everyone recognises we all have a part to play in supporting each other during life’s toughest experiences, especially during times of hardship, illness, loneliness, death and grief.

We are all touched by these challenges at some point in our lives.  

Let’s have a conversation about living well and dying well and supporting each other emotionally and practically along the way.