How far should families and the wider community be involved in end of life care?
What sort of support can we provide to end of life services and systems, and to carers?

These questions were among those considered at Compassionate Communities, an event held on May 14 during Dying Matters week to raise awareness of the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement.

Hosted by UEA Health and Social Care Partners, the event was headed by UEA Health Sciences lecturer Dr Guy Peryer, an expert in end of life care and lead member of our Palliative Care research group. The Palliative Care research group is being formed under UEAHSCP to support a rising need for solutions in palliative care in the East of England.

Norfolk has one of the oldest populations in the UK and it is estimated that by 2040, 75% of patients will benefit from palliative care. With these challenges in mind, over 130 health and social care specialists from across the region gathered from local charities, care homes, councils, NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups to discuss the importance of taking a public health approach to palliative and end of life care.

The impressive list of speakers included Professor Allan Kellehear, President of Public Health Palliative Care International, Dr Barbara Gale MBE, CEO St. Nicholas Hospice Care, Bury St. Edmunds and Dr Libby Sallnow, Palliative Medicine Consultant at CNWL & UCLH, London.

Delegates also enjoyed a private screening of Director Rebecca Kenyon’s award winning short film Holding Space, an intimate observational documentary about the role of an End of Life Doula in supporting a dying person and their family.
Attendee Sarah Steele, from Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support, applauded the event: “Without doubt this was one of the most moving and inspiring day conferences I have ever attended. This conference has helped me see that there is a way to move the end of life experience back into the communities where it belongs”.

Thanks to the generous support of UEA, NIHR, EAHSN and British Society of Gerontology for making this event possible.
For further information, please contact: Dr Guy Peryer CPsychol, CSci | g.peryer@uea.ac.uk | @guy_per