Dr. Eman Hassan is the Acting Executive Director of the BC Centre for Palliative Care and is leading leads it’s Public Health Portfolio, including Compassionate Communities and Advance Care Planning Initiatives. Eman is the author of the Centre’s White Paper: The Public Health Approach to Palliative Care. In this paper, she describes the different public health palliative care models including Compassionate Communities and demonstrates the international experiences with these models. Eman is the lead for the BC Compassionate communities movement through which over 65 projects were implemented in partnership with local communities to help British Columbians live well through aging, serious illness experiences and into bereavement.
Eman has 20 years of experience leading population health programs, research and evaluation projects with various healthcare organizations and research institutions in BC. In addition to her medical degree, Eman holds a Master of Public Health from University of British Columbia (UBC) and completed a two-year Fellowship – awarded by CIHR – in Health Services Research at UBC. Eman published in leading medical journals and received notable awards from academic and professional institutions for her work that contributed to improvement in community health.
Compassionate Communities in British Columbia: An innovative social palliative care model
Limited mobility, stress and feelings of loneliness are parts of living with serious illness and frailty for both patients and caregivers. As the population is aging, this has become a pressing public health problem in British Columbia (BC).
In 2016, the BC Centre for Palliative Care (BCCPC), launched a Compassionate Communities program to engage and strengthen the role of local communities in the provision of practical and emotional support for people impacted by a serious illness, frailty, or death experience. The program supports community-delivered projects that aim to enhance public awareness of the problem, improve access to care, as well as enhance connection, meaning and belonging throughout serious illness and into bereavement. The program provides eligible projects start-up funding, training, toolkits, and coaching.
Thus far, a total of 68 compassionate communities’ projects have been implemented through partnerships between BCCPC and community-based organizations across BC; 50% are based in rural and remote areas. These partnerships are bearing good fruit for all involved in terms of impact and positive outcomes. Evaluation results provide evidence of positive impact on: 1) Patients & families: better supported, socially engaged, better informed of available resources, and greater satisfaction 2) Volunteers: improved knowledge, skills and confidence 3) Organizations: improved engagement with public, enhanced competency and new partnerships.
The Compassionate Communities’ model in BC offers effective, sustainable solutions to current gaps access to palliative care and helps people live well right until the end.