Dear Compassionate Communities’ Champion:

We are inviting you to complete a short online survey to provide feedback on a definition and description of existing Compassionate Communities in Canada. As a Compassionate Community Champion, we want to make sure the description reflects your work in this area. Your feedback will help inform the development of an evaluation toolkit that can be used by Compassionate Communities’ Champions in Canada like yourself. The evaluation framework and tool will be developed through a partnership project between Pallium Canada, BC Centre for Palliative Care and Hospice Palliative Care Ontario.

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* 1. Do you see the creation of an evaluation toolkit for Compassionate Communities in Canada as a valuable initiative to support your local work?

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* 2. Do you agree with the following proposed definition for a Compassionate Community?

A Compassionate Community is: 

A community of people*, who feel empowered to engage with, increase their understanding about the experiences of those living with a serious illness, caregiving, dying and grieving.  

Community members will take an active role in caring for people, assist people to live comfortably in their homes, connect people to supports, raise awareness about end of life issues, and develop the capacity of others in the community. 

While each community adopts its own approach to building more compassion in response to its needs, there are common goals for Compassionate Communities: 

Members of a Compassionate Community recognize that these experiences are a part of everyone’s journey through life and that they can happen at any time.  

They also recognize that care for one another at times of health crisis and grief is not a task solely for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility.


A Community is a group of people who have something in common. A community may be people who live near each other, in a city, town, or a neighbourhood. It may also be a group of people who have a common interests, goals, or experiences, such as co-workers, members of a faith community, or even members of a book club, running group, or online group.

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* 3. Did you find the wording is clear in terms of who Compassionate Communities are helping, their common goals, who should be involved, and the activities involved?

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* 4. Do you agree that this definition is applicable to your Compassionate Community initiative?

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* 5. Are you willing to adopt this definition?

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* 6. Do you agree that the following examples of activities are considered Compassionate Communities’ initiatives? 

A Compassionate Community initiative may include: 

1.     Educational Activities: 
     a. Raising awareness and normalizing conversations about how to live well while experiencing a serious illness, caregiving, and grieving. One example of these activities is hosting advance care planning sessions.
     b. Increasing communities’ capacity through: 
         i.awareness of the practical and psychosocial needs of people affected by a life-limiting illness  
         ii.understanding of palliative/end of life care, knowledge of supportive services and how to access them.

2.     Building supportive networks in neighbourhoods, faith communities, schools, workplaces and other community settings to provide practical, social, emotional and spiritual care for people who are dealing with caregiving, dying, and grieving. This example would focus on connection between the people who need support and those in the community who are able to provide it. This could include walking the dog, driving someone to an appointment, dropping off meals, or making a daily phone call to check in on someone and see if they need anything. 

3.     Skill Development Activities: 
     a. Helping people cope with death and grief using arts-based healing practices such as music, singing and dialogue.  
     b. Building on the skills of community members to care for people. 

4.     Advocacy for policy/guidance development in schools, workplaces, and unions to support employees who are dealing with dying, caregiving or grieving experiences. 

5.     Activities to eliminate social isolation associated with serious illnesses and increasing a sense of belonging.  
     a. Examples of these activities include:  
          i.Training high school students to serve as compassionate companions for recently discharged patients from hospital by providing short home visits and initiating engaging cheerful conversations with them over a cup of tea/coffee.  
          ii.Recruit community members to help with checking in on people who are isolated. This can be done in person or over the phone. This is a support found in faith communities already. 

6.     City/Community-Wide Collaboration: 
     a. Building a Coalition that has participation from all aspects of society.

One example of a city/community-wide framework is The Compassionate City Charter which guides initiatives interested in supporting those living with serious illness, caregiving, dying, and grieving.

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