Understanding community engagement in end of life care: developing conceptual clarity

Libby Sallnow, Sally Paul

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Over the past decade, public health approaches to end-of-life care have received increased literature, policy and practice focus. These developments recognise the significance of community engagement activities and their contribution to end-of-life care. In the United Kingdom, community engagement is a priority for the majority of hospices. Nevertheless, there exists some ambiguity about the range of different practice that exists under this heading, the principles underpinning it and the outcomes for the work. Conceptual clarity is an essential next step in the development of this emergent field. The aim of this paper is to present a definition and a conceptual model of community engagement for end-of-life care services and the communities they serve. A spectrum of community engagement in end of life care is presented, derived from models in the general community engagement literature. Types of engagement extend on a continuum from informing through consulting, co-producing, collaborating to empowerment, with the later levels capable of achieving more penetrating health and social change. The factors that affect the type and nature of engagement are represented in boxes at either end, demonstrating that it is not the influence of a single factor, but the overall balance of factors that determines the quality and outcomes of the engagement work. This spectrum is designed to aid professional services and the communities they serve to embark on community engagement projects with an open awareness of the requirements and key components underpinning their success and a shared understanding and language.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-238
    Number of pages8
    JournalCritical Public Health
    Issue number2
    Early online date16 Apr 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • community
    • death
    • health promotion


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