COMPASSIONATE
COMMUNITIES

KINGSTON CANADA

City of Kingston

Latest News

JAN 12/ 2020 – New Advance Care Planning Free Session at Crossroads United January 30. See Events page for more information.

What is a Compassionate Community?

A community that recognizes that all natural cycles of sickness and health, birth and death, and love and loss, occur every day within the orbits of its institutions and regular activities.

Its residents recognize that care for one another at times of crisis and loss is not simply a task solely for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility.

As Professor Allan Kellehear (originally from Australia and now at the University of Bradford, England) has stated, dying is not fundamentally a medical event, rather it is a social event that happens in the family and community. If dying is about living, loving and working with a life-threatening illness until one can no longer do so … the longer part of that lifestyle occurs outside formal health care institutions.

Compassionate Community

Our VisionOur Vision

In our community, we know that we all have a role to play in supporting each other in times of crisis and loss.  People are willing and confident to have conversations about living well and dying well; to ask comfortably for help; to offer help willingly and to support each other in emotional and practical ways.

Our FocusOur Focus

Research has shown that community development initiatives intent about fostering social change are most successful if they focus on changing two social norms:

  • Shift our culture from one in which members instinctively decline help from personal and community networks to one that ‘asks for and accepts help’.
  • Reinforce and create a community culture that is confident and capable of offering and providing help.

Our PlanOur Plan

  • Establish new norms of attitude and culture so we can talk easily about living well, dying well and grieving well.
  • Promote interest and understanding of the issues involved in an effective social approach to end-of-life supports.
  • Engage, strengthen, connect and navigate informal community networks.

Our ApproachOur Approach

In partnership with other community groups and organizations:

  • conduct Community Conversations and sharing of experiences on the most effective ways to promote the role of community in end-of-life planning and care.
  • Encourage volunteers to lead a variety of initiatives in which they are interested.
  • Conduct education programs on relevant topics.
  • Develop an asset-mapping project to determine the range and extent of existing social networks.

ABOUT US

A compassionate community – the sort we’d all like to live in – is one where sickness and health, birth and death, love and loss are regarded as natural events. And where in times of crisis and bereavement, community members, and not just health professionals, watch over one another caringly.

The compassionate care (CC) movement had its nascence in Ottawa Canada in November 1986 when the first International Conference on Health Promotion responded to a growing need for a new worldwide public health approach with the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Since then the World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a public health model to include palliative care, garnering support on an international scale. This in turn has helped to drive the widespread Compassionate Communities movement today.

Based on Professor Kellehear’s vision and research, the movement has become a social model of palliative care rooted in the community. Its whole systems approach, based on a Compassionate City Charter (CCC), extends services to community settings – such as workplaces, schools, faith communities – while at the same time demystifying caregiving, dying, death, and grieving, through social and cultural settings such as museums, art galleries, media, and thus effecting social change.

Our Steering Committee

Florence Campbell
Eleanor Rivoire
Peter Merkley
Allen G. Prowse
Rob Wood

Acknowledgements

This international movement began almost twenty years ago.  We are grateful for the opportunity to learn from the years of experience in other communities.  We acknowledge especially Dr. Allan Kellehear; The Groundswell Project; Australia; the Scottish Compassionate Communities Network (Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief); Compassionate Communities U.K. Frome Model; The Healthy End-of-Life Project, LaTrobe University, Australia.

In Canada, Compassionate Ottawa and Pallium Canada have been especially helpful and continue to provide valuable expertise and advice.

Our Approach And Programs

Our Approach

What is Possible?

Compassionate Communities | What is Possible

We strive to live in a community in which we know that we all have a role to play in supporting each other in times of crisis and loss. People are willing and confident to have conversations about living well and dying well; to ask comfortably for help; to offer help willingly and to support each other in emotional and practical ways. This possibility is not yet within our reach… We all have work to do.

Our Focus

Our purpose is to help us all live as well as we can for as long as we can.  To do that, and to ensure that the above possibility becomes a reality, our focus is on changing two social norms.

SOCIAL NORM ONE.  We’re a death-denying society

We won’t discuss “it”.  Yet, talking about dying never killed anyone.  We spend more time planning our next vacation than thinking about our wishes, beliefs, values … perhaps with a serious illness looming.

We instinctively decline help from personal and community networks when offered and say “thank you for asking but I’m fine”, even when we’re not fine.

SOCIAL NORM TWO.  Citizens are willing but lack confidence in knowing how to help

If we decline help, willing citizens are often put in a position of not knowing how to help so they retreat by saying “let me know if I there is anything I can do”.

This Compassionate City model guides our activities.

Compassionate City Model

Our Programs

Community Engagement Conversations

Compassionate Communities | Community Engagement

To reach the Possibility for which we strive for our community, one of our most important programs is that of engaging citizens in Community Conversations and inviting them to share their passion, their commitment and their gifts with their fellow neighbours and friends.

…It is now clear that the good life in the 21st century will have to be grown in the local neighborhood.  Once we see the need for a strong, connected, productive local community, our basic building blocks are the skills, gifts, passions and knowledge of all our neighbors.  It is these neighborly capacities that are most often unknown to us.  It is making these capacities visible and connected that is the basic task of a functioning 21st century.  … John McKnight, Co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, Northwestern University, and author of The Abundant Community.

Periodic Community Engagement meetings are held to promote death and grief as a natural part of life, to develop a deeper sense of connection and belonging, and to encourage citizen engagement in programs that provide opportunities for them to share their gifts with our communities.

Advance Care Planning Seminars

Who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself?  Will they know what to say?  Have you had conversations with your loved ones about your values, wishes, beliefs as you approach the later years?

Why is this important?  Statistics tell us that only about one in seven of us has prepared a plan for our future care and shared it with others.

These informal seminars foster gentle conversations to introduce the process of planning effectively for the future; to provide opportunities for reflection; sharing of ideas and experiences; and raising questions.  They also offer suggestions for discussions with loved ones, healthcare providers, financial or legal professionals and describe the Ontario laws on Substitute Decision Makers.

Go to our Events Section to find out more!

Get Involved

Get Involved

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

We encourage citizens who are interested in sharing the possibility of a more compassionate, more caring Kingston to become involved in our Compassionate Communities initiative.  Get involved in a way that suits your own personal interests, skills and background.

SIGN UP with us to volunteer your time and talent with a network of citizens who share our vision.

LET US KNOW about existing compassionate programs in which you are already involved.

CREATE OPPORTUNITIES for people to have conversations about planning for end-of-life OR supporting each other.

  • Get people together in remembrance of people who have died by organizing an event
  • Organize an event around Canada’s National Advance Care Planning Day April 16, 2020

ENCOURAGE Supportive Environments

The Scottish National Partnership suggests that often people want to help one other, but find that something gets in the way.  For example, many people don’t know their neighbours very well, so feel that offering support could be an intrusion. Some might want to comfort a colleague, but are worried about leaving their desk because of workplace policies. Children in school may want to offer condolences to a bereaved teacher, but they are warned not to by school management.

Are there ways to break down some of these barriers? Are there ways of encouraging more supportive cultures and structures within institutions such as workplaces and schools? Can local people take action to make neighbourhoods friendlier and kinder places?

  • Nurture Neighbourliness
  • Encourage Supportive workplaces
  • Create more Supportive Schools

DONATE funds to help support our initiative.

Your Availability

Events

Past Events

Community Engagement Conversations
Community Engagement Conversations
Advance Care Planning Sessions
Advance Care Planning Sessions

Upcoming Events

Advance Care Planning Seminar – Afternoon

To help us all develop practical end-of-life plans, these workshops provide gentle conversations to introduce the process of planning effectively for the future; offer opportunities for reflection; sharing of ideas and experiences; and raising questions.  To date, these sessions have assisted over 100 residents in their planning decisions.

Find out more »
Free
Crossroads United Church, 690 Sir John A. MacDonald Blvd
Kingston, Ontario K7M 1A2 Canada
+ Google Map
Check back soon!

Resources

Web Resources

Local

Dealing with a devastating life-threatening diagnosis: The Gini Rosen Story

Queen’s University CFRC Radio Interview about Compassionate Communities and Advance Care Planning. Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 11:30 a.m. (expires September 1; podcast under development).

In Support of Compassionate Communities, Alia Hogben, Kingston Whig Standard.

Provincial

Speak Up Ontario:  Speak Up Ontario, a partnership between Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA), provides education and Ontario-based tools and resources that comply with Ontario laws.  Included is information on Advance Care Planning.

Ontario Government, Attorney General:   provides forms for both Power of Attorney for Property and Personal Care.  … Note: The Ontario Government’s 1994 Power of Attorney Kit is still valid for use.

Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario: a network of specialized geriatric services created in collaboration with primary care physicians, community health professionals and others to meet the needs of frail and vulnerable seniors.  Caregiver education included.  Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario.

What is Self-Directed Care?

National

Pallium Canada.  The Compassionate Communities Exchange:  a digital space to contribute to the conversations surrounding Compassionate Communities in Canada—learn from the inspiring work of other community champions across Canada and discover new resources to help you launch community-wide change.

Will the Millennials be the first generation to stop fearing death?  Why an increasing number of young people are writing their wills and arranging their funerals.  The Walrus.

Abundant Community Edmonton.

International

The Town Trying to Cure Loneliness: Loneliness and isolation can trigger a host of other problems, particularly for our health. But a town in Somerset, in the United Kingdom, appears to have taken a big step towards alleviating the problem.

Mortals Anonymous:  Death Cafes, a place where people go to talk about dying.

Death over Dinner:  an uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment.  We invite you to gather friends and family and fill a table.

How to prepare yourself for a good end of life.  Katy Butler, author of “The Art of Dying Well” (Scribner, 2019).

Death over Dinner:  an uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment.  We invite you to gather friends and family and fill a table.

Richard Smith: The public health of death, dying, and grief has been neglected, but now is the time.

Contact Us

Email Compassionate Communities