good life, good death, good grief

Truacanta

Truacanta Perth & Kinross

Shortlisted community Perth & Kinross tell us about their new partnership, and how they're working together to build their vision to be part of The Truacanta Project.

The wonderful thing about the Truacanta project is how it has already, at this early stage, drawn so many different people and teams together. When the news of the proposed project was shared, notes of interest were being posted from Perth and Kinross, and although we had all met before at conferences, events and followed each other on social media, we weren’t aware of each other’s approaches in thinking about Truacanta, and what being part of the project might bring.

Caroline contacted us with the good news that our collective notes of interest had been accepted, and we began to talk to each other. As we did, it became clear that collectively we really have a shared intent to work with the community to look at how loss, grief and bereavement affects so many individuals, from children, to young people who might be carers, to older people – ‘the third age.’

This has given us a great opportunity for some real partnership working, with Tayside Palliative and End of Life Care Managed Care Network looking at working with schoolchildren to capture their imagination in creating artwork around loss and grief, thinking about how some people are not going to get better, and what this means to them. This will raise awareness and enable people to speak positively into difficult situations. Through the children’s pictures and words, the aim is to promote human relational care and practical kindness as a key asset in compassionate communities. The artwork can then become a resource to be shared widely for people who have been bereaved.

PKAVS carers hub are hoping to establish better ways to support young and adult carers who may be looking after people with life-limiting conditions, through developing individuals to become counsellors who can work with people in exploring feelings of loss, grief and moving on after someone has died. This will be a development of PKAVS existing Bridge Project.

Dalweem is a care home in Aberfeldy, Perthshire and work has already begun there in connecting their largely rural community by creating a hub and drop-in café which will support people going through loss, grief and bereavement, and also those with a terminal diagnosis. Another community based idea is to provide training, workshops and signposting with the support of the District nurse team for those living at home to feel more involved and confident in caring for someone with a palliative or end of life diagnosis.

Perth and Kinross Health and Social care Partnership are hoping to build on existing resources and networks, and are looking at a check-in telephone service for people who live alone, and might be feeling isolated and lonely after a death of a loved one. Another idea to reach out and support people in the community after someone has died is to emulate the Irish tradition of a ‘months mind’, when a card or token gift could be sent four weeks after a death of a loved one.

When we got together to talk about our ideas, we found our shared values of compassion and humanity mirror the translation of Truacanta, and recognise that we all bring different experiences, skills and knowledge around loss, grief, bereavement, death and dying. We’re all really looking forward to taking this forward and working with the community. There is still much to be learned, but it feels like we are finding our way. There is another Scots Gaelic word which might describe this; camhanaich, which means both twilight and dawn, where there are some unknowns, but also much hope and exciting prospects ahead.

The main contact for Perth & Kinross is Emma Oram: EOram@pkc.gov.uk

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