"Mind the Gap"
Truacanta Perthshire in Bruges
Reflections from the 7th International Public Health Palliative Care Conference, Bruges.
In September, a group of representatives from the Truacanta Project and Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care made their way to Bruges to participate in an international conference. I was fortunate enough to be able to join them on behalf of Truacanta Perthshire. The Truacanta (Scots Gaelic for compassion) Project presented how we have made a difference in connecting people in our community to talk about loss, care, grief and bereavement using a compassionate community approach. Our audience were from across the globe – Switzerland, Canada, US, New Zealand and Brussels. Although culturally different, we all had similar experiences of the inequalities that exist in our communities around experiences of palliative and end of life care.
These inequalities were the focus of many of the workshops, for example recognising the rituals of loss and death in indigenous populations, or how to support people who have no home to access pain relief and comfort, or the barriers experienced by LGBTQ+ citizens in communities.
It is easy to assume how such a conference might weigh you down, but it was a joy to see how work is being done in so many communities, large and small, of which Truacanta is a part of, to improve the lives of those who are living with loss and grief. We all experience it, so the best help we can give comes from each other, in a compassionate community.
Here’s a YouTube of Naheed Dosani, a physician from Toronto who was at the conference who asks, “What’s a life worth?” He describes how an awful situation created such a sense of injustice that a change had to happen. We must also ask - do we need these crises before we change things for the people who matter?