Unpacking the complexity of public preferences for and beliefs about dying at home in Canada

Online Event

16/11/2021, 2:30 pm - TO 16/11/2021 - 3:30 pm

Organizer: Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging

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Home death has been characterized as an indicator of the quality of Canada’s health care system, and is often assumed to universally reflect public preferences. In its ideal form, dying at home after terminal diagnoses is linked by advocates to concepts of reclamation, personhood and control, and social integration. Our team’s research suggests that home is not a universally preferred place of dying for older adults, and that preferences vary depending on specific scenarios. Policy makers, stakeholders and other experts noted that the public may not be fully aware of the end-of-life support that may be required of family, and stakeholders expressed concerns about structural inequities in access to care. Qualitative interviews also revealed contingent and nuanced interpretations of the meaning of home as well as family responsibility. As the COVID-19 pandemic has constrained decision-making about place of death, findings from this study challenge universalistic assumptions about public preferences in public policy and reinforce the ongoing need for public investment in hospices and institutional care settings alongside home-based palliative care.

Registration Required: https://bit.ly/3G1YIxx

Dr. Laura Funk (she/her) is a Professor of Sociology and social gerontologist at the University of Manitoba, whose scholarship has explored how paid and unpaid carers for older adults and dying persons engage with broader discourses surrounding age, care and responsibility. She currently leads two SSHRC-funded projects, including one examining the interface between public policy and peoples’ interpretations of the meaning of dying at home, and another examining the implications of unpaid carers’ interpretive processes for attempts to mobilize carers in a broad cross-sectoral movement.