Dying at home: A qualitative study of the perspectives of older South Asians living in East London

Kumar Ramasamy Venkatasalu, Jane Seymour, Anthony Arthur

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    22 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    South Asians constitute the single largest ethnic minority group in the United Kingdom, yet little is known about their perspectives and experiences on end-of-life care. Aim: To explore beliefs, attitudes and expectations expressed by older South Asians living in East London about dying at home. Methodology and methods: Five focus groups and 29 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 55 older adults (24 men and 31 women) aged between 52 to 78 years. Participants from six South Asian ethnic groups were recruited via 11 local community organisations. Data were analysed using a constructive grounded theory approach. Findings: Two key themes were identified. The theme of ‘reconsidering the homeland’ draws on the notion of ‘diaspora’ to help understand why for many participants the physical place of death was perceived by many as less important than the opportunity to carry out cultural and religious practices surrounding death. The second theme ‘home as a haven’ describes participants’ accounts of how their home is a place in which it is possible to perform various cultural and religious rituals. Cultural and religious practices were often seen as essential to achieving a peaceful death and honouring religious and filial duties. Conclusion: Older people of South Asian ethnicity living in East London perceive home as more than a physical location for dying relatives. They make efforts to adhere, but also adapt, to important social and cultural values relating to death and dying as part of the wider challenge of living in an emigrant society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)264-272
    JournalPalliative Medicine
    Volume28
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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