Standardising care of the dying: An ethnographic analysis of the Liverpool Care Pathway in England and the Netherlands
The article 'Standardising care of the dying: An ethnographic analysis of the Liverpool Care Pathway in England and the Netherlands' by Erica Borgstrom and Natashe Lemos Dekker is published in Sociology of Health & Illness.
- Erica Borgstrom and Natashe Lemos Dekker
- 19 August 2022
- Link to the article
The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP) was a prominent set of guidance in the late 2000s and early 2010s within palliative and end-of-life care. Developed in England to improve the care of dying patients, it was later adopted in 20 counties. After a public scandal, it was removed from practice in England but remains in other locations, including the Netherlands. Drawing on two sets of ethnographic data, from England and the Netherlands, we consider the ways in which the LCP was engaged with as a form of standardisation aimed at improving practice, how it was deployed in relation to other forms of knowledge, and the political and moral statements that are being made through the (selective) use of it. Looking into the use of the LCP shows that, while the LCP attempts to standardise some of the values associated with palliative care, there are significant differences between how these standardised values are then enacted in different institutional and national contexts and by different individual care professionals. We conclude that the LCP was used to impart moral values, establish protocols of care, and demonstrate professionalism, showing the multiplicity of the use of standards in healthcare practice.