Professional caregivers' work with the dying in nursing homes - a Foucault-inspired analysis of discourses in the last decade in a Danish context.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


International studies on the death of elderly nursing home residents show the complexity in the understanding of the professionals who care for the dying. The aim of this study is to explore the discourses about professional caregivers caring for those dying in Denmark in the last decade. A discourse analysis inspired by Foucault was constructed. The material consists of different source documents: research articles, newspaper articles, theses, books, websites - 35 sources in total. There are constructed six positions of speech, five discourses and three themes: (1) 'the work of the professional caregivers - a complex low-status work'; (2) 'the education of the professionals - the way to ensure a good death or possessing the right qualifications' and (3) 'the vulnerable professionals'. The study concludes that an economical/political discourse is dominating and sets up the frames within which the professionals care for dying residents, although the medical, the social/critical and the religious discourses attempt to speak against it. All positions articulate that the professional caregivers' job has a low status and that it is not possible to provide an optimal care due to lack of time, resources and education. Psychical or mental demands make the professionals vulnerable. The meaning of optimal care varies according to the positions of speech


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing


  • terminal care, nursing homes, Denmark, health professionals, discourse analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-993
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch