Presented by: Krystyna Kongats
Background: Despite growing interest worldwide in health promoting approaches to palliative care, little has been written in the context of ethnically diverse urban settings. This is problematic as current evidence on health promoting approaches to palliative care may not adequately reflect the experiences of those living in such diverse urban communities.
Aim: In collaboration with Hospice Toronto, we seek to understand how community members living in an ethnically diverse, high density urban neighbourhood support each other through chronic life-limiting illness and palliative care. Second, we will map out the perceived impacts of such an approach on those involved and the wider community.
Methods: To achieve our aims, we used Hospice Toronto’s Creating Caring Communities model as a participatory case study in St. James Town, one of Canada’s most densely populated and ethnically diverse neighbourhoods. In total, 19 community helpers, clients, carers, and staff joined the project and participated in a 7-month photovoice project.
Results: Project members developed strong relationships with their neighbours and identified different ways they provided support to those who are isolated with a serious illness (e.g., interpretation, help at home, connecting with local social agencies). Participants emphasized that care was ‘organic’ and ‘reciprocal’. Different impacts were also identified including reduced isolation and an opportunity to gain ‘Canadian experience.’ Facilitators (e.g., speaking the same language) and challenges (e.g., balancing volunteer protocols with ‘just being a neighbour’) were also noted.
Conclusion: This study contributes to the evidence base on health promoting approaches to palliative care in diverse urban communities.