Compassionate Communities: a response to Palliative Care challenges




palliative care, compassionate communities, compassion, community empowerment


Compassionate communities are an increasingly visible strategy in training and in the palliative care support network. In Portugal, since 2019, they have developed their mission in support that goes beyond the treatment of symptoms to include psychological, spiritual and social well-being through the fundamental values of compassion in supporting people with chronic illness and the end of life. The objective of this research was to understand how compassionate palliative care communities develop their action and what projects have emerged in our country. The study allowed semi-structured interviews to be carried out with those responsible for pioneering compassionate communities and content analysis was carried out. It was found that the main activities include awareness raising and training, sharing meetings and collaborative actions, being a response to many challenges felt in empowering society. There was a need to create psycho-social-educational training programs, to create collaborative care networks, to train community mobilizers and to record the impact of projects on communities. The study concluded that there is an urgent need to raise awareness of care based on compassion, emphasizing social strengthening, the helping relationship and the ability of citizens to actively participate in the development of palliative care in their communities.