University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Life’s hard and then you die: the end-of-life priorities of people experiencing homelessness in the UK

Webb, W.A., Mitchell, Theresa, Snelling, Paul ORCID: and Nyatanga, Brian (2020) Life’s hard and then you die: the end-of-life priorities of people experiencing homelessness in the UK. International Journal of palliative Nursing, 26 (3). pp. 120-132. ISSN 2052-286X

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Background: People experiencing homelessness often die young and without adequate support. In the UK, they fail to access palliative care services and their end-of-life priorities remain poorly understood. Aims: To explore the end-of-life concerns, fears, preferences and priorities of a sample of people experiencing homelessness in the UK. Methods: This is an interpretive phenomenology. Data collected through semi-structured, audio-recorded, face-to-face interviews with 21 homeless participants in the UK were analysed iteratively using thematic analysis. Findings have been interpreted through the lens of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. Results: Eight themes are reported: spiritual concerns; practical concerns; fear of needing care; fear of being forgotten; preference for dying suddenly; preference for being somewhere comfortable where people know me; prioritising autonomy and self-determination; and prioritising authenticity. Conclusion: A strengths-based, trauma-informed, person-centred, collaborative ‘compassionate community’ approach to care is recommended for people experiencing homelessness at end of life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the official URL.

Copyright 2020 the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (CC BY-NC 4.0,

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: homelessness, end of life, priorities, compassionate community, Merleau-Ponty
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Nursing and Midwifery
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Copyright Info: Open access article
Depositing User: Paul Snelling
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2020 16:37
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2020 15:26

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