Most aged in India are experiencing a highly protracted death in hospitals, entangled in tubes and machines. Such ‘medicalised death’ entails huge psychological, social and financial costs for both patients and their caregivers. There are also many who are dying in abject neglect. However, Government response to end-of-life care has been almost negligible and there is an acute information deficit on dying matters.
This book examines different settings where elderly die, including hospitals, family homes and palliative set-ups. The discourse is set in the backdrop of international attempts to restructure and reconfigure the health delivery system for ageing population. It makes critical commentaries on global developments, offers state-of-art reviews of recent advances, substantiates and corroborates facts by personal narratives and case histories. The book overcomes a segmental understanding of the field by weaving various sociological, medical, legal and cultural issues together. Finally, the authors critically examine biomedicine’s potential to meet the complex needs of the dying elderly. In an attempt to bring cultural sensitivity in end-of-life care, they explore the lost Indic ‘art of dying’ which has the potential to de- medicalise death.
Increasing public sensitivity to poor dying conditions of the elderly in India and facilitating changes to improve care systems, this book also demonstrates the limitations of the western specialization of death. It will be of interest to academics in the field of Medical Sociology/Anthropology, Medicine, Palliative care, Public Health and Social Work, Social Policy and Asian Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Poverty of Dying in India: A Comparative Landscape
2. Dying in the Homeland
3. Are Indian Hospitals Good Places for the Dying Elderly?
4. The Rhetoric of Dying in Home
5. Is Palliative Care the Answer to Care for the Dying Elderly in India?
6. The Failing Empirics of Biomedicine in Dying Matters
7. End-of-life Care: Retrieving Death from the Zone of Obscurity
Suhita Chopra Chatterjee is a Professor in Sociology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India. Her current area of interest is in the field of Death studies. She is the lead editor of Discourses on Ageing and Dying.
Jaydeep Sengupta is a Doctoral candidate at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India, and is formally trained in Anthropology and Development Studies. His areas of interest are Public Health and End-of-life care.