Bethlehem Health Promotion Program

School Video project “Embracing Life” seeks to engage schools and the wider community to raise awareness about palliative care and death and dying

As a Health Service providing specialist palliative care, Calvary Health Care Bethlehem (CHCB) works to support community capacity & resilience in dealing with life limiting illness, death, dying and bereavement.

In support of this, CHCB this year launched the palliative care video “Embracing Life” to encourage conversations about death and dying with students and community groups. The video follows the experience of a group of students from Sacred Heart Girl’s College in Oakleigh who spent time at the hospital with patients, staff and volunteers. The documentary examines how the project changed the student’s views of palliative care, giving them a greater appreciation of life, and increasing their confidence to have conversations about death.


About the film 'Embracing Life' (2 mins)

View the full 12 minute video

Student reflections on death shine a light on end of life - View the full 12 minute video

The video has been trialled as a classroom resource using volunteer facilitators to year-10 students, as part of their year level well-being lesson.

Discussions with Education Co-ordinators outside of Catholic Education are under way with the hope that more schools will be able to incorporate this resource into their curricula and have their own teachers use it as a catalyst for discussion with students.

A classroom guide, to be used in conjunction with the video, is currently being produced.


Want more information or to get involved?

Groups or organisations who are interested in more information about this project or who are interested in utilising this resource are encouraged to contact Karen Bolger, Health Promotion Officer – Calvary Health Care Bethlehem.

Karen Bolger, Health Promotion Officer

 [email protected]

 03 9834 9525

History of the Bethlehem Project

Over the past few years CHCB has hosted a number of High School immersion activities where students were invited to meet and discuss end of life issues with Palliative Care patients, volunteers and staff.

The first project resulted in a book titled “This Time and Place” featuring observations of patients, carers, staff and students. The second resulted in a six month art exhibition  of 35 student produced art works displayed at a local gallery and libraries. This second project culminated in the production of the film “Embracing Life”.

La Trobe University has been involved in the ongoing evaluation of this project. Preliminary responses having been “overwhelmingly positive” suggesting that: “students developed a deeper understanding of death and palliative care, a greater appreciation of life, and increased confidence to have conversations about death”. Evaluation of the ongoing impact of the project continues.


Read about the ‘Embracing Life’ launch in the Huffington Post here.

Read about the ‘Bethlehem Project’ School Program on the ABC online here