Presented by: Chris Absolon
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissions healthcare for the 500,000 people who live in Somerset. The end of life strategy, which aims to achieve a 50% home death rate by creating compassionate communities, includes developing compassionate organisations. The end of life lead for the CCG undertook an initiative to turn Somerset CCG into a compassionate organisation. This served the dual purpose of providing an example for other organisations as well as making the theory and practice of compassionate communities familiar to the commissioners.
Becoming a compassionate organisation has 3 steps, which do not have a particular order. These are developing a compassionate workplace policy, training compassionate champions within the workplace and setting up a bank of volunteer support for people undergoing hardship surrounding the experiences of death, dying and loss. The CCG started with supporting a small group within 1 area of the CCG to become compassionate champions and friends. The group met on a regular basis and put posters up to let workplace colleagues know if they wanted informal support during times of stress and loss. They kept count of the number of contacts and the subject matter. use of informal support quickly broadened into areas other than death, dying and loss. Once the group had gained experience they opened the training up to other areas of the CCG and to other organisations who worked in the same building. The CCG is now going through the process of developing a compassionate workplace policy.