Compassionate communities are already playing an important role both in medicine and in palliative and end of life care. Learning about why it is important and how it works takes a bit of explaining, as many of the concepts seem vague. Relating them to practical experience can be difficult. To try and bridge this gap, we will post a series of blogs which will hopefully illuminate both theory and practice.
A unified model for health care and compassionate communities
Finding a coherent model for compassionate communities means it needs to fit into the context of healthcare. We have created a model which is equally good for medicine and general as well as palliative care specifically. We believe that it is the union of all four components that is needed if we are to improve health and well being, as well as apply the principles of harm reduction. We have joined the four cogs of specialist care, generalist services, compassionate communities and the civic approach of the compassionate city charter with a chain. Improved outcomes for individuals and populations require a linked approach of all of the cogs working in harmony.
The Hierarchy of Well Being picture emphasises that good disease management, good symptom control and joined up care can be classified in the context of harm reduction. This provides the basis for health and well being. Well being is derived from the things we value most in life - the people and places we love, the relationships we have which include simple neighbourly conversations, and the creative time we put into these things. The negative consequences make it clear that all of the cogs have to work together to get good outcomes. If any of them do not function, this upsets all of the others. Negative consequences therefore relate to failure of the system components or their lack of working in harmony, rather than individual failures.