Care as a form of life: Living with a palliative patient in family in Latvia

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A study was carried out on the situation of family members caring for the terminally ill in Latvia in 2004 (Kalnins, 2006) in order to identify their needs and desires. The study highlighted a need for education in practical caregiving and a need for continuing skilled guidance by medical personnel. On the basis of these findings, also practical measures were proposed: that more attention be paid to families’ support needs in the course of health professionals’ education and that policies be developed that would support the delivery of palliative care services to patients and families in their homes. This paper intends to follow up the situation a decade later drawing on data generated by the following methods: discourse analysis of health professionals’ articles and interviews about palliative care in Latvian mass media, content analysis of relevant thematic strings in two family health related internet fora, and the author’s auto-ethnographic notes in her role as a caregiver for a terminally ill family member. A recent volume (Das & Han, 2015) advances a form of life as a key anthropological concept to theorize about life and death in contemporary world. The editors see each form of life as resting on an agreement to a life together. This agreement, however, reveals the precarious nature of human existence for “the social and the natural mutually absorb each other” (ibid.: 3). This paper proposes to explore caring for the terminally ill as a paradigmatic expression of a form of life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2018
EventConference of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies - Stanford University, Stanford, United States
Duration: 1 Jun 20183 Jun 2018


ConferenceConference of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies
Abbreviated titleAABS conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 5.9 Other social sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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