The Management of Death in Care Homes: Homemaking and Death Panel

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Is it time to end the reliance on home as a marker of a good death?
Dr Kate Woodthorpe

‘Home’ at the end of life conjures up images and expectations of domesticity, sentimental material belongings, familiarity, accompanied by and in the presence of ‘loved ones’ and emotional warmth. But is this the case? In this paper, which will introduce and accompany the panel, I question what ‘home’ means theoretically and in policy, and why it has been so prominent in UK end of life care strategies. Given that during Covid-19 ‘home’ has taken on different connotations of custody and isolation, the paper and associated panel will explore what ‘home’ may mean post-Covid, the varying expectations that accompany concepts of ‘home’ at the end of life and post-death, and whether ‘home’ remains a useful and suitable signifier of a ‘good’ death.

Homemaking in later life
Dr Renske Visser

“The majority of people want to die at home” is a phrase that is reiterated in many scholarly work regarding ageing, dying and the end of life. While this phrase is frequently repeated, it is often not referenced, and assumed to be a statement of fact, with very little (virtually no) critique. Little time is spent unpacking what people actually mean when they say “I want to die at home” despite much policy attention being given to the importance of place of death, and home being one of the ‘preferred options’. In this paper I will take a step back and, building on my empirical research concerned with the meaning of home in later life, highlight the complexity of home as a concept, suggesting that, today,. home is much more akin a verb than a noun. ‘Home’, I will argue, is something that is actively created, and always in flux. As people grow older their understanding of home changes and ‘home’ might have multiple and perhaps contradictory meanings. Using the term homemaking instead of home, captures the fluidity and changing nature of home and is better suited to understand the complexity around feelings of belonging, and decision-making, at the end of life.

The Management of Death in Care Homes
Diana Teggi

In England, care homes for adults aged 65+ function as both homes and care institution for their residents. As a matter of fact, older adults live in the care home, where they spend most of their time, have many of their personal belongings, and their officially registered addresses. At the same time, care homes are also institutions for the care and safety of residents. Care homes are governed by legislative and regulatory frameworks mandating the type of health and social care residents receive and staff’s working practices. I call this set of legal and regulatory pressures shaping the strategic aims of the care home system: care home governance. In this paper, I will analyse how residents’ death and dying is managed so as to happen in the care home and realise both governance objectives and cultural expectations of a ‘good’ death. The notions of home and homemaking are engaged differently by governance and staff perspectives when they aspire for residents to die in the care home to achieve a good death.

The dead and the home
Sam Hooker

Dying at home is often epitomised as the golden standard yet when people do die at home their body is often swiftly removed. When people die away from home, the body is sometimes returned to the outside of the home as part of the procession to the funeral but rarely is it brought back inside. This removal of the dead from the home contrasts with the practises of caring for the dead before the turn of the 20th Century, where family members caring for the dead in the home was common in the UK. Examining where this practice of removal has come from, this paper explores the opportunities and barriers of caring for the deceased body in the home, the grass roots movement of home funerals, policy linked to the management of the dead in the home, and questions what ‘home’ really means in the context of the dead body.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2021
Event15th International Conference on Death Dying and Disposal - Manchester Metropolitan University (Online), Manchester, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20214 Sept 2021


Conference15th International Conference on Death Dying and Disposal
Abbreviated titleDDD15
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom
Internet address


  • care homes
  • death
  • EOLC
  • end of life care
  • management
  • dying


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