Sociological and Spiritual Aspects of Palliative Care in Ireland: Understandings of a “ Good Death”

Author: MacConville, Una
This book explores understandings of a ‘good death’ and the spiritual dimension of care in an Irish palliative care setting. It provides a new theoretical framework in which these experiences and how they are shaped by their cultural context can be understood.


“[The author] provides us with a new way of viewing both dying and its care while at the same time as offering a new theoretical framework for charting Shakespeare’s-and our-‘undiscovered county’.”-Prof. Allan Kellehear, University of Bath

“Perhaps for the first time we have been provided with a map of social landscape that reflects that of the physical world-rich, diverse, complex yet fragile and delicate.” -Dr. Regina McQuillan, St. Francis Hospice

“This stimulating book is set to become a classic in understanding the nature of dying in a palliative care setting in contemporary Ireland…and the first book to take seriously the influence of culture on ‘the manner of parting’.” -Prof. Glennys Howarth, University of Bath

"This book is a welcome addition to Irish palliative care literature. MacConville guides the reader through her research journey, which documents a qualitative ethnography study exploring the views of Irish palliative care patients, their careers, and wider multidisciplinary team concerning "a good death" and the spiritual dimension of palliative care." -- Prof. Maria E. Bailey, University of Limerick

"... this is a worthwhile book for those interested in the development of palliative care from one distinct perspective, and will interest those seeking to undertake ethnographic research and use grounded theory as a method of analysis." -- Andrew Goodhead, St. Christopher's Hospice, Sydenham, London

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Allan Kellehear



Section 1 The known world
The manner of parting 2 The Irish dimension 4 3 The means of exploration 67 Section 2 A view of palliative care in Ireland
The experience of palliative care
Multi-dimensional care
Relationship and place
Religion and spirituality
A ‘good death’

Section 3 Creating social maps: understanding the topography
A complex relationship
The angle of repose; finding the point of balance