Integrating Palliative Care Into School Communities


Integrating Palliative Care Into School Communities


Paul S; Cree V; Murray S



Palliative Medicine




Palliative Therapy; Bereavement; Child; Controlled Study; Curriculum; Hospice; Hospices; Human; Human Experiment; Information Processing; Interview; Model; Only Child; Palliative Care; Primary School; School Child; Scotland; Skill; Staff; Terminal Care


Background: Historically, the social aspects of death, dying and bereavement have been given insufficient attention by palliative care services; this has had an adverse effect on how patients and their families experience end-of-life and bereavement. New approaches to palliative care, which forefront palliative care as a public health issue, have brought impetus to this aspect of service provision by seeking to develop communities that support death, dying and bereavement. A survey found that most hospices in the UK regard this approach as a priority and work with schools has been identified as a key area of innovation within this. Practice that engages schools and children on issues concerning end-of-life care is, however, under-developed and under-documented, and there is little evidence that explores the role of hospices in working with schools. Aim: To extend the work of a hospice to engage with local primary schools to promote education and support around end-of-life and bereavement experiences. Method: An action research methodology was used to explore the potential of hospices working with school communities. The research was conducted in one hospice and across two primary schools in Scotland. Participants included children, aged nine to twelve, parents and school and hospice staff, who participated in a series of interviews and focus groups to identify better practice and engage in change processes. Results: Seven innovations were identified and piloted that were of relevance to the school curriculum and the relationship between hospices, school communities and wider society. A model for integrated practice between hospices and schools is suggested. Conclusions: This research informs the ways that hospices might improve their community engagement activities to enable school communities to develop relevant skills, attitudes and support around end-of-life and bereavement experiences for their children. This requires an extension of normal hospice services to develop capacity within school communities.


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Citation List Month

May 2017 List


Paul S; Cree V; Murray S, “Integrating Palliative Care Into School Communities,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 19, 2024,