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Everyday Compassion: Supportive responses to dying and bereavement by schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces

A conference exploring how to encourage open and supportive attitudes and behaviours relating to death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.

Wednesday 25th April 2018, Renfield St Stephen Centre, Glasgow.


Two hundred people attended this sell-out event, coming together to explore current thinking and practice relating to public health palliative care in Scotland. The event brought together experts from across Scotland, the UK and further afield, to examine this diverse field from various angles.

The full conference programme is available here: Conference Programme

Recordings of plenary sessions will be made available at a later date. Speaker PowerPoint presentations are available below.

Plenary sessions

Creating Compassionate Cities: sharing learning from around the world

Allan Kellehear, 50th Anniversary Professor (End-of-Life Care), University of Bradford

PowerPoint Presentation

Allan Kellehear, PhD., FAcSS is a 50th Anniversary Professor (End-of-Life Care) at the University of Bradford, UK. He is a medical and public health sociologist. Founder of the world’s first academic public health palliative care unit in Australia in the 1990s, he also wrote some of the first academic literature expounding the public health approach to palliative care, and co-founded (with Sallnow and Kumar) the Public Health Palliative Care Conference Series. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and President of Public Health Palliative Care International (PHPCI).

Death Literacy in Australia: The GroundSwell Project

Kerrie Noonan, Co-founder and Director, The GroundSwell Project, Australia

PowerPoint Presentation

The GroundSwell Project is an Australian not for profit that exists to create a more death literate society, one where people and communities have the practical know-how needed to plan well and respond to dying death and grief. This means transforming end of life conversations into deep community engagement and social action. Their vision is a world where everyone knows what to do when someone is dying or grieving. Since 2010 they've run over 60 projects across Australia. Over the next 2-3 years they hope to support the growth of compassionate communities work and public health palliative care in Australia.

How Pallium is Mobilising Compassionate Communities across Canada

Bonnie Tompkins, Compassionate Communities National Lead, Pallium Canada

PowerPoint Presentation

Bonnie Tompkins works at Pallium Canada as the Compassionate Communities National Lead focusing on Mobilizing Compassionate Communities (CC) across Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Public Health specializing in Palliative Care, and has leadership roles in several CC initiatives. She sits on the steering committee for the Ontario Caregivers Coalition, is a contributor to CancerandWork.ca, a council member of Public Health Palliative Care International association, and is collaborating with Brock University to become a compassionate university and pilot undergrad palliative certification. Her interest in palliative care developed through personal experiences as the sole caregiver to her late partner who died while completing her BPH.

Growing compassionate communities in the East End of London

Libby Sallnow, Palliative Medicine Doctor, University College London Hospital
PowerPoint Presentation

Dr Libby Sallnow is a palliative medicine doctor working at University College London Hospital and recently submitted her PhD to the University of Edinburgh. She has a longstanding interest in new public health approaches to end of life care, with a detailed working knowledge of such projects in London and Kerala. She has published articles and book chapters in this field and co-edited the book "International perspectives on public health and palliative care" in 2011. Her PhD examined the impact of a new compassionate communities initiative in East London. She has supported the development of the international movement in new public health approaches, is research lead for Public Health Palliative Care International and vice chair of Public Health Palliative Care UK.

Death, dying and bereavement: a practical approach to education and support in schools

Helen Quinn, Teacher, St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Falkirk and

Sally Paul, Lecturer in Social Work, Strathclyde University

Sally and Helen's PowerPoint Presentation

Stephen Fischbacher, Director, Fischy Music

Helen Quinn is a teacher at St Francis Xavier’s Primary School in Falkirk. She began teaching in 1992 and since then

has worked with all ages of children throughout Nursery and Primary School. She became interested in working with Strathcarron Hospice after being involved in research about children’s experiences of death and bereavement and how these subjects were dealt with in schools. This process made her aware of the need to address the subject of end of life with children in a safe and supportive environment in order to develop their resilience in coping with change and loss. She led a task group responsible for integrating the Resilience Programme into normal school life and has been instrumental in both designing and developing this work, which has now been embedded in the curriculum for five years.

Sally Paul is a lecturer in social work at the University of Strathclyde. She was previously a social worker in voluntary and statutory settings, most latterly in palliative care. In this role she completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh that developed health promoting palliative care activities with schools. These experiences underpin her current teaching and research. She is on the board of the PHPCUK and a stakeholder group member for the Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief alliance in Scotland.

Stephen Fischbacher was born in Glasgow and his early career as a youth and children’s worker fostered a strong interest in the well-being of young people and their families. His conviction that music could help children explore and express emotions led Stephen to found Fischy Music as a charitable trust in 1998 with the aim of supporting the emotional and spiritual well-being of children. Since then, Fischy Music has grown to the point where the team work with around twenty thousand children every year. Fischy Music is used regularly in Health and Wellbeing work in thousands of Primary schools around the UK and beyond. The music and approach are also used in enhancing programmes such as Seasons for Growth that support children going through loss and grief.

Life, death and grief in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities

Euan Paterson, GP Facilitator, Glasgow

PowerPoint Presentation

Euan was an inner-city GP in Govan, Glasgow from 1985 to 2016 and has been a GP Palliative Care Facilitator for 19 years. He was a council member of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care from 2010-16 and of RCGP (Scotland) from 2014-17. Euan has always been a committed generalist, with additional areas of interest being palliative care (which he sees as basically good generalist care for those who are dying), drug dependency, inequalities and medical education. Educationally, he is most interested in professional attitudes, communication, compassion and ‘the essence’ of general practice. He firmly believes that to see a meaningful improvement in overall health outcomes there must be a narrowing of the inequity gap in our society.

A Scottish Government perspective

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Shona was born in Redcar in 1966. Educated at Alva Academy, she went on to graduate from Glasgow University with a Social Sciences MA and Jordanhill College with a Postgraduate Certificate in Community Education. Previously she worked for Glasgow City Council's Social Work Department. Shona was MSP for the North East from 1999 to 2003 and elected MSP for Dundee East in 2003. Latterly, she was Shadow Minster for Health and Social Justice and a member of the Parliament's Health Committee before being appointed Minister for Public Health in the Scottish Government after the May 2007 election. She was re-elected in May 2011 and appointed Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, and was made Cabinet Secretary for Health in November 2014.

A practical response to some of the challenges: the To Absent Friends festival in Scotland

PowerPoint presentation by Robert Peacock and Rebecca Patterson

To Absent Friends is a Scotland-wide festival of storytelling and remembrance which takes place annually from 1-7 November. It was born from a desire to reduce the social isolation of people who have been bereaved, and initiated by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care in 2014. Now approaching its fifth year, the festival gives people across Scotland an opportunity to remember, to tell stories, to celebrate and to reminisce about people who are important to them who have died. Bringing together some of the day's key themes, this presentation will explore the festival as one potential practical way of encouraging more open and supportive attitudes and behaviours relating to death and bereavement.

Report launch: A Road Less Lonely

The conference launched A Road Less Lonely a new report by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, looking at practical next steps for Public Health Palliative Care in Scotland, including chapters exploring: Compassionate Workplaces; Death Literacy; Funeral Poverty; Scaling up Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief work; Death education and bereavement support in schools; Compassionate Communities; Wills, Power of Attorney, Advance Directives; Media Awareness Campaigns; Supporting socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

PowerPoint Presentation by Rebecca Patterson

Breakout sessions

Community development and creating compassionate communities

Alison Bunce, Compassionate Inverclyde Programme Lead

Julie Crawford, Community Development Worker, Muirhouse Link up

Alison Bunce started work in Ardgowan hospice when it originally opened in December 1989 as a staff nurse on night duty. Since that time Alison has worked in all aspects of Palliative Care including IPU, Day Hospice, Community and Acute services. Alison has been seconded for a period of 3 years to lead Compassionate Inverclyde which is a public health approach to palliative care. This is a local initiative which is part of a global social

movement of change.

Julie Crawford is currently a Community Development Worker at Muirhouse Link-up and has worked in this role for almost 6 years. She has a wide range of experience within the third sector including within Housing, Employability and Personal Development. She is passionate about the area she works in and the amazing people she is fortunate to work alongside. She has been involved with Muirhouse Youth Development Group in one form or another for around 25 years.

PowerPoint Presentation

My Power of Attorney Campaign

Jill Carson, Health Communications Consultant, Enterprise Screen

Jill worked in the National Health Service in the UK for over 30 years. Her background is in Speech & Language Therapy, but following many years of managing clinical services she worked as a senior manager in areas as diverse as Employability, Immunisation and Older People's Mental Health Services. She led on Dementia for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde from 2012 - 2017. From 2013, she managed the Power of Attorney campaign for Glasgow City and other health and social care organisations in Scotland. Since January 2018, Jill has continued to lead the Power of Attorney campaign on a consultancy basis for Enterprisescreen Video Communications. Jill has had a number of articles published covering dementia as well as Power of Attorney.

Brendan Smith, Creative Director, Enterprise Screen

Brendan Smith is an experienced director of campaigns and commercials for both digital and broadcast marketing. As a founding member of Enterprise Screen, Brendan has over 15 years experience working in the video production industry. In his current role, he has managed both the delivery of Creative content and the analysis and reporting for the national Power of Attorney campaign, delivering high impact results for the NHS and local authority partners.

The role of Faith Communities – the practical and the spiritual

Maureen O'Neill, Director of Faith in Older People

PowerPoint Presentation

Maureen O’Neill is the Director of Faith in Older People, which aims to develop a stronger understanding of the importance of the spiritual dimension to the well-being of older people. She has worked in the voluntary sector in Scotland since 1980 with a focus on older people and people with mental health problems. She is currently the Chairperson of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Lay Advisory Committee and a care home. Previously she was the Director of Age Concern Scotland and was the representative of the voluntary sector on the European Economic and Social Committee.

Creating Compassionate Workplaces

Stewart Wilson, Chief Executive of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland

Robert Peacock, Development Manager, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief

PowerPoint Presentation

Stewart has been with Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland for 16 years. During this time Cruse Scotland has undertaken a comprehensive redevelopment of training and practice standards as well as engaging in research into practice at Scottish and European levels. His background includes volunteering as a counsellor for a small counselling agency and in private practice in Edinburgh, leading him into voluntary sector management as Executive Director of COSCA (the professional body in Scotland for counselling and listening skills training and practice) . Prior to this he worked for the Scottish Office and the European Commission in Brussels.

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