Public Health Seminar: The Public Health Approach to Bereavement Support: Empirical evidence for the Compassionate Communities Approach

Event status:

Samar Aoun A Department of Public Health seminar presented by Samar Aoun, Professor of Palliative Care, Palliative Care Unit, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University

Wednesday 29 August 2018 01:00 pm until Wednesday 29 August 2018 02:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Merilyn Riley, Susan Chong;
Presented by:
Samar Aoun
Type of Event:

One of the modern public health paradoxes is the neglect of the bereaved (though bereavement is a universal experience). Guidelines propose that bereavement support should be matched to risk and need. However, palliative care services continue to adopt an unhelpful blanket approach in offering bereavement support. So, who provides support to the bereaved? Based on our team’s Australian Bereavement Survey, much of this support is provided in informal and other community settings by a range of people already involved in the everyday lives of those recently bereaved, whether care recipients received or did not receive palliative care. A public health approach to bereavement care is needed to support ‘everyday assets’ in the community without the over-reach from professional services. The data from this survey provided empirical evidence for building a community’s capacity to provide the type of social and practical support advocated by the Compassionate Communities approach which relies on identifying and developing local caring networks around the dying person and their family. This innovative study (in content, conceptual model and recruitment approach) has challenged the existing bereavement support structure and provision and has already influenced practice and policy.

Samar Aoun, is Professor of Palliative Care, Palliative Care Unit, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University. She is a palliative care researcher with a public health approach and a focus on under-served population groups such as people with Motor Neurone Disease, dementia, terminally ill people who live alone and family carers before and after bereavement. Samar advocates for a person-centred health and social care. Her research programs on supporting family caregivers at end of life and the public health approach to bereavement care have informed policy and practice at the national and international levels. Her more recent work has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities movement in bereavement support.

Samar has established and chaired the West Australian Country Health Services Ethics Committee for 23 years. She has served on two principal National Health and Medical Research Council committees: the Australian Health Ethics Committee, and the Prevention and Community Health Committee. She is currently a member of the NHMRC National Statement Review working group, and the NHMRC Indigenous Research Ethics Guidelines Review working committee. She has chaired NHMRC grant review panels for the past five years. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Palliative Medicine journal, a member of an expert advisory group for the development of best practice guidelines in bereavement care in Europe and a member of the reference group on Public Health Palliative Care of the European Association of Palliative Care.

Lecture details

1.00 pm to 2.00 pm, Wednesday 29 August 2018
Bundoora: HS1 Room 115 (light lunch provided); Collins St: Room 360C-2.20D (via Zoom video conference).

Please RSVP if you will attend the Bundoora venue, for catering purposes.


For more information please contact Merilyn Riley or Susan Chong.

Merilyn and Susan also welcome colleagues who would like to present at the seminar, and suggestions for speakers.


La Trobe University Victoria 3086



17th Aug 2018 7:04pm

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