Ambition six of the Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care is ‘each community is prepared to help’. This guidance has been written as a summary of how organisations in particular and society as a whole can participate. Communities that are prepared to help falls into the category of Public Health Approaches to end of life care. Many will not be familiar with this field of work, which has been developing on an international basis for the last 20 years. Public health approaches aim to be inclusive for all people and for all ages.
These approaches include community development to support the dying, those important to them, and those who are bereaved. Despite best efforts following publication of the National End of Life Strategy in 2008, the expected increase in the number of people accessing end of life care, particularly advance care planning, and people being supported to die at home has been relatively muted. Professional care is struggling to meet current demands. Using a public health approach to end of life care is a way of enhancing supportive networks other than the professional ones.