Compassionate Communities are places and environments in which people, networks and institutions actively work together and are empowered to improve the circumstances, health, and well-being of those facing serious illness, death, dying and loss. The study of their development, implementation and evaluation requires an interdisciplinary research approach that has hitherto been lacking. In 2020, eight research groups from four faculties at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) united in the interdisciplinary Compassionate Communities Centre of Expertise (COCO) to investigate Compassionate Communities. This paper describes the first results of COCO; (1) an interdisciplinary mode of collaboration, (2) a shared conceptual understanding and definition of Compassionate Communities, and (3) a shared research agenda on Compassionate Communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-1401
Number of pages10
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number10
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


  • Ageing in place
  • Death and Dying
  • End-of-life
  • Public health
  • Serious illness


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