The Checking Out project will explore attitudes towards death and dying in low-income communities, and look at the relevance of current public health approaches to meet the needs of people affected by poor health, and their carers, in later life.
When: Jan 2020 – Oct 2021
Where: Low-income areas within the UK
Why: In the UK the Department of Health adopted an End of Life Care Strategy in 2008 and there is a growing recognition of the need to address palliative care as a public health issue, encouraging early intervention to ‘reduce harms related to ignorance, fear, social distancing and isolation, stigma and prejudice’ (Kellehear 2013). At the same time research shows that people with a lower socio economic status are less likely to access palliative care services (Buck et al 2018), and that inequalities in access are actually increasing (Sleeman et al 2016).Given the UK’s ageing population, the crisis in health and social care and the recognition that inequalities accumulate across the life course, end-of-life care for people in lower socio-economic groups is a key issue.
The research aims to:
6-8 Focus groups: (4-6 participants in each one) within low-income communities, in local settings where people feel comfortable e.g. community centres. Focus groups will look at materials such as the ‘Dying Matters’ campaign leaflets and discuss feelings, thoughts and reactions to these materials and the issues they raise. Topics may include people’s fears in relation to end-of-life, their perceptions of a good death, and their feelings about talking about and/or preparing for death within their own life context, but no-one has to discuss anything that they do not want to.
10 Interviews: For people who would prefer to discuss their views and experiences in a one-to-one setting, or for focus group participants who would like to discuss their personal experiences in more depth. The interviews will be informal conversations and the participants can choose what they would like to discuss, but this may include experiences of end-of-life with family members or friends, feelings in relation to considering their own end of life and their views on the value of preparing for death, either for themselves or family members.
Practicalities: Focus groups and interviews will take place at a time and venue to suit the people taking part. Participants will receive £25 as a thankyou for their time, and travel and/or childcare expenses will be paid.
Impact: By increasing our understanding of the barriers to considering and preparing for end-of-life, the research will help inform service-providers (within and beyond healthcare) about effective ways to address current inequalities in access to care.
Contact: Please feel free to contact the researcher, Lorraine Hansford, with any queries, comments or suggestions. If you would like to suggest groups / contacts I could get in touch with to talk about the project I would love to hear from you.
Phone: 01392 722578