Article Abstract

Caring communities as collective learning process: findings and lessons learned from a participatory research project in Austria

Authors: Klaus Wegleitner, Patrick Schuchter

Abstract

Background: By now, the public health end-of-life care approach is well established and has induced diverse initiatives—subsumed under the concept of compassionate or caring communities—to engage the community in supporting vulnerable, dying people and their beloved ones. In the light of a participatory research project our paper examines the question: What are the deeper ideas behind caring communities and what constitutes a caring community?
Methods: A multi-level analysis based on (I) qualitative research with focus groups and interviews with community members within the project; (II) the reflection of the role of participatory research in caring community initiatives, and (III) the meta-analysis of an international expert workshop, which allowed to discuss our experiences and insights in the light of international caring community models and expertise.
Results: Our analysis of qualities (“ingredients”) of a caring community, from the perspective of community members, highlighted the importance of the co-creation of supportive care relationships in the local care web, through everyday life solidarity in the neighbourhood, appreciating and exchanging the wisdom of care, and also marked the role of professionals as enablers. Participatory research in caring community developments has the potential to engage and empower citizens, and to interlink existential care-stories with questions about the structural and political environments of appropriate end-of-life care.
Conclusions: The caring community movement and public health end-of-life care has to maintain their critical potential against the commercialization and fragmentation of care (services), but also without “romanticizing” communities. Prospective caring community progresses need (I) an ecological health-promotion framework for action and (II) social learning processes along the existential experiences and the wisdom of community members, complementing each other. Organizing existential-political care dialogues can contribute to an ethic of caring in practice on a community level.

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.

Article Options

Download Citation