Pamela Grassau, Arne Stinchcombe, Roanne Thomas, David Wright
Background and rationale: The Compassionate Communities movement emphasizes the importance of illness, disability, dying, caregiving, and grief across the lifespan and highlights the communal responsibility of caring for one another. There is a need to recognize and incorporate the needs of diverse communities within this movement and research on dying, caregiving and grief. An important axis of this diversity is related to individuals’ sexual orientation and gender identity.
Methods: As part of the early phases of Healthy End of Life Project Ottawa, a Compassionate Communities, community-based, participatory action research project, we held focus groups with older members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities. Nine older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit people participated in the focus groups (mean age = 72 years). Data were analysed using an inductive, reflexive thematic approach.
Results: Through an iterative analysis process, we identified themes related to lifecourse experiences of trauma, the need for safety within care contexts, the importance of relationships and connection, as well as participants’ ability to ask for and receive help. A core tenet of Compassionate Communities involves responding to the needs of diverse communities with respect to aging, end-of-life, and grief. Our findings emphasize the importance of incorporating the voices of diverse sexual and gender identities and promoting health equity within Compassionate Community initiatives.
Grassau, P., Stinchcombe, A., Thomas, R., & Wright, D. K. (2021). Centering sexual and gender diversity within Compassionate Communities: insights from a community network of LGBTQ2S+ older adults. Palliative care and social practice, 15, 26323524211042630. https://doi.org/10.1177/26323524211042630