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Soc Sci Med. 2016 Nov;168:120-129. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.09.012. Epub 2016 Sep 10.

Beyond the visual and verbal: Using participant-produced photographs in research on the surroundings for care at the end-of-life.

Author information

1
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Center, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm Sweden; Karolinska University Hospital, The Innovation Center, Stockholm Sweden. Electronic address: carol.tishelman@ki.se.
2
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Center, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm Sweden; Department of Nursing, University of Umeå, Sweden.
3
Department of Nursing, University of Umeå, Sweden.
4
The Institute for Palliative Care, Lund University, Sweden; Skåne Regional Council, Sweden; Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden.
5
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Center, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm Sweden.

Abstract

The web of relationships between wellbeing and the environments in which people live has long been recognized. However, relatively little research has been conducted about end-of-life surroundings from the perspective of the dying person. In this study, we investigate which aspects of their surroundings are particularly meaningful for the people inhabiting them in the last phases of life, based on participant-produced photographs with follow-up interviews. Twenty-three people were purposefully recruited via specialized in-patient palliative care/hospice units, specialized palliative care home care teams, and residential care facilities for the elderly. Participants were given a digital camera, and asked to take pictures of that which was meaningful for them in their surroundings. The interviewer later viewed the photographs with the participant, asking: "what is this picture of?" and "why is it meaningful to you?" The database consists of 76 photographs with follow-up interviews, which were analyzed qualitatively in an iterative process. These empirical data demonstrate how a sense of being valued, and of being able to maintain contacts with one's daily life and sense of identity appear supported or hindered by features of the care surroundings. These features include a positive aesthetic experience incorporating both sensory stimulation using one's body as well as general ambiance; support appropriate for maintaining a sense of functional independence; and connections with one's past, present and future as a person within a wider world. Corporeality appears crucial for understanding, negotiating and interacting in one's surroundings, while maintaining both physical and social function. This data collection approach was found to offer alternative forms of expression as verbal ability decreases and symptom burden increases, making it useful in end-of-life research and practice development.

KEYWORDS:

Death and dying; End-of-life care; Environment; Hospice; Palliative care; Photo-elicitation; Photo-voice; Sweden

PMID:
27643846
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.09.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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