Catch an early-bird registration and learn how to build a compassionate community

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Catch an early-bird registration and learn how to build a compassionate community

People inspired to learn how their communities can support people at the end of life are encouraged to register this week for the Compassionate Communities Symposium in order to take advantage of early-bird rates.

Discounted registrations for the two-day symposium close on Monday 19 December.

The symposium, to be held in Sydney from 20-21 February, will enable community leaders from local government, not-for-profit organisations and community groups to better understand what compassionate communities are and gain practical insight into how to build them.

The symposium is a joint collaboration between Palliative Care Australia (PCA) and The Groundswell Project.

PCA CEO Liz Callaghan said while clinical support is vital to ensure a comfort and wellbeing for people with a life-limiting illness, the symposium will highlight that dying, death and bereavement are inevitable parts of life, and that caring is everybody’s business.

“There is a growing older population that do not have the same family supports that once existed. They may not live close to family, may be divorced or unmarried and may become increasingly socially isolated as they become frail and their health deteriorates,” Ms Callaghan said.

“Developing community capacity and enhancing social networks can make a real difference to supporting people at the end of their lives.”

The symposium’s keynote speaker, UK palliative care consultant Dr Julian Abel, will share his extensive experiences of building compassionate communities around individuals.

Earlier this year Dr Julian Abel gave Palliative Matters readers an insight into the “life-enhancing and nourishing” impact compassionate communities can have on carers, patients and community members. Dr Abel co-authored a guide to help communities develop support networks at the end of life.

Other speakers include Dr Bruce Rumbold, who is director of the Palliative Care Unit at La Trobe University. The unit works collaboratively on several community capacity building projects to improve end of life care. Dr Rumbold will explain what compassionate communities are and why they matter.

Dr John Rosenberg from Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Nursing will explain how to engage existing networks in a compassionate community model.

Professor Debbie Horsfall from Western Sydney University’s School of Social Sciences and Psychology will encourage symposium participants to be the catalyst for the compassionate communities movement in Australia.

Kerrie Noonan, director and cofounder of The Groundswell Project, will lead a session to help participants know where to start implementing what they have learned.

To learn more about the symposium and to register, click here.