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O-4 Hidden work and hidden workers in hospice care
  1. Natalie Richardson
  1. University of York, York, UK


In this presentation, I draw on an ethnographic study conducted as part of a PhD research project in a hospice in England over a six-month period. The research explored the everyday working lives of a range of hospice workers, from clinical staff to cooks and complementary therapists. I will explore the hidden work of those in the spaces of the hospice often unexplored, such as in the kitchens and the therapy spaces. In these places, intimate interactions unfold and moments of sensory care between patients and staff take place. Here, I particularly focus on the hospice workers’ influence and involvement in experiences at the end of life through the three sensory domains of silence, touch and taste. The use of silence and touch have been well explored in hospice settings, however, this paper adds the importance of those in often hidden spaces, carrying out hidden sensory forms of care. The touch of a cleaner on a patient‘s arm and the individualised last meal comprise some of the hidden moments of care, which tell us of the importance of these often hidden workers.

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