Person self and identity

Whilst there has been broad agreement amongst anthropologists that what constitutes and characterises 'human beings' is subject to cultural and historical variability (see, for example, Mauss 1985 Dumont 1985) the actual terminology used to describe and understand these 'human beings', as La Fontaine (1985 124) points out, has been a matter of some confusion and debate. In light of such confusion, La Fontaine suggests that it is most fruitful to draw a distinction between what she terms the...

The shifting context of death and dying during the twentieth century

In order to understand the goals and objectives of the modern hospice movement it is necessary to locate them within the context of the various socio-historical forces which stimulated the movement's development. According to the historical record, a significant transition has occurred during the past fifty or so years in the ways in which death and dying have been located, handled and managed within 'Western' contexts.10 As Aries (1981) observes, from the fifth to the nineteenth century in...

Characteristics of patients admitted to day care disintegration and loss of self

The needs of patients with life-threatening conditions are quite unique. They have a future that cannot be mapped out plus a disease which is likely to cause rapid deterioration in their physical and mental capacities. Consequently, many patients feel extremely isolated. (Jackie, Macmillan nurse emphasis added) This section explores patients' anecdotal accounts of the ways in which a diagnosis of incurable illness, coupled with the impact of their encroaching disease, affected their lives...

The development of the modern hospice movement in the UK

The modern hospice movement developed in the late 1960s in the UK, stimulated in the first instance by a small number of medical professionals who had themselves become very disillusioned with the care of dying patients in hospitals. Like the academic researchers referred to above, hospice pioneers pointed to severe shortcomings in the ways in which dying patients were cared for at the time by medical staff. One of their common complaints, for example, was that dying patients were moved to...