Inequity in palliative care

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Despite the principles of universal health coverage, the Nordic countries struggle with profound inequity. This article explores inequity in end-of-life care in Denmark. From a large data pool from two years of research in Denmark, we present two cases consisting of conversations with two very different patients at the end-of-life.
Drawing on social class theory, we find that early palliative care typically involves social exclusion processes. Based on critical sociological theory of ageing, we indicate that valuing activity more highly than palliative care supports unequal end-of-life care: One wealthy patient performs in line with the neoliberal, entrepreneurial self and is supported in communication with health professionals. The other, less privileged patient performs in a passive way and the conversation mainly alleviates the disrespect he has experienced in healthcare encounters.
Our contribution to existing research on ageing and dying is to demonstrate how palliative practices are colinised by a neoliberal political-economic logic. We conclude that palliative care activate class differences, when active ageing becomes a dominant concept in care provision.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Publication statusSubmitted - 10 Jan 2023

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