Dying at home: A qualitative study of the perspectives of older South Asians living in the United Kingdom

M. R. Venkatasalu, J. E. Seymour, A. Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background:South Asians constitute the single largest ethnic minority group in the United Kingdom, yet little is known about their perspectives on, and experiences of, end-of-life care.Aim:To explore beliefs, attitudes and expectations expressed by older South Asians living in East London about dying at home.Design:A qualitative study using focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using a constructivist grounded theory approach.Setting/participants:Five focus groups and 29 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 55 older adults (24 men and 31 women) aged between 52 and 78 years. Participants from six South Asian ethnic groups were recruited via 11 local community organisations.Results:Two key themes were identified. The theme of 'reconsidering the homeland' draws on the notion of 'diaspora' to help understand why for many participants, the physical place of death was perceived as less important than the opportunity to carry out cultural and religious practices surrounding death. The second theme 'home as a haven' describes participants' accounts of how their home is a place in which it is possible to perform various cultural and religious rituals. Cultural and religious practices were often seen as essential to achieving a peaceful death and honouring religious and filial duties.Conclusions:Older people of South Asian ethnicity living in East London perceive home as more than a physical location for dying relatives. They make efforts to adhere, and also adapt, to important social and cultural values relating to death and dying as part of the wider challenge of living in an emigrant society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-272
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date9 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • Ethnic minorities
  • South Asians
  • dying
  • end-of-life care
  • home

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