Building community capacity for end of life: an investigation of community capacity and its implications for health-promoting palliative care in the Australian Capital Territory
Mills, J and Rosenberg, JP and McInerney, F, Building community capacity for end of life: an investigation of community capacity and its implications for health-promoting palliative care in the Australian Capital Territory, Critical Public Health, 25, (2) pp. 218-230. ISSN 0958-1596 (2015) [Refereed Article]
This study identified and examined community-based activities around death, dying and end-of-life care which might reflect a health-promoting palliative care (HPPC) philosophy. This approach is argued to restore community ownership of, and agency in, dying and death through the building of community capacity. However, the enactment of the HPPC approach has not been extensively examined in Australia. Current understandings of community capacity-building relating to end of life are orientated toward service provision. A qualitative interpretive approach was used to engage with local community groups in the Australian Capital Territory with an interest in death, dying and end-of-life care. Data were collected from ten in-depth, semi-structured interviews and thematically analysed. The themes of Practical Support, Respect and Responsiveness and Connection and Empowerment were identified, reflecting community activities initiated in response to the experience of life-limiting illness. Building community capacity offers to restore community agency in end-of-life concerns, while potentially enhancing health service provision through collaborative partnerships. This study indicates an existing community capacity, demonstrated by activities that promote socialisation, peer support and normalisation of death and dying. However, as these activities occur primarily in response to illness, proactive and preparatory interventions in HPPC are a priority.
community; dying; health promotion; palliative care