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Palliative Care Workers' Understandings of Cross Cultural Interaction in End-of-Life Care
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2014 (English)In: 22th Nordic Conference of Gerontology, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 May, 2014., 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We live in a time of globalization development, which results in intensified migration flows. One consequence of this is that an increasing number of people grow old and die in countries other than where they were born. Thus, questions of how the health and social care sector should meet the needs of an aging diverse population, have been on the agenda for Swedish policy makers for some time. Studies in social gerontology show that ideas regarding culture-appropriate care have been central in taken-for-granted assumptions about how elderly care should be designed to meet the needs of a diverse population. However, research on care workers’ understandings of culture-appropriateness, within the context of elderly care in general, and within the context of end-of-life care specifically, is scare. This study departs from both this knowledge gap as well as from the debate that suggests that the way in which we conceive culture-appropriateness within palliative care, needs to be problematized. The empirical point of entry, is focus group interviews with palliative care workers in Sweden (n=60) who have been interviewed about their understandings of cross-cultural interaction within end-of-life care. Departing from the social-constructivist perspective and from membership categorization analysis, this study sheds light on palliative care workers’ understandings of cross-cultural interaction in end-of-life care. The findings show that these workers regard this type of interaction as challenging because they take for granted that it entails communicating with, and relating to, ethnic ‘Others’. As such, they understand cross-cultural interaction as a challenge to palliative care practice, and ethnic ‘Otherness’ as a barrier to user-friendly and high-quality end-of-life care. The analysis also shows that these workers’ understandings are guided by the debate on culture-appropriate care and the assumptions about culture that it makes. Therefore, this presentation problematizes this debate and the understandings of cross-cultural interaction that they generate. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Cross cultural interaction, End-of-life care, Ethnic 'Otherness', Care workers
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237868OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-237868DiVA: diva2:769243
22th Nordic Conference of Gerontology
Welfare and Life-course
Available from: 2014-12-06 Created: 2014-12-06 Last updated: 2014-12-17

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