About the study

hospital-840135_1920What is Forms of Care?

Forms of Care is an ethnographic research project exploring care, with a specific focus on those instances when healthcare staff within a palliative care team, whether individually or collectively, do not do something. This can refer to a particular medication, a general course of action, or broader aspect of care. In contrast to cases of neglect, such practices of not intervening are not only routine but form significant dimension of much routine medical care. Nevertheless, they frequently lead to tensions and clashes with the more dominant clinical logic of active management, and often with patients’ and relatives’ hopes and expectations. As a consequence, the study will document the range of forms and occasions when not intervening emerges as part of everyday practice. It will draw on anthropological and social science theory more generally to provide an analytical framework to interpret the data and situate findings within a broader understanding of care.

It is a three-year project (Sept 2017-Aug 2020) and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council UK (Grant ref: ES/P002781/1). The grant title for the project is “Not intervening as an active form of care: an ethnographic study of palliative care” and we have shortened this to Forms of Care for the purposes of promotion and accessibility when talking about the project.


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