Social Death and End of Life Care

Social Death

Social death is a term used to describe the loss of social identity and inter-generational relationships that occur when people experience a life dominated by poverty, chronic illness or homelessness. It is a condition that many people in the world today experience, and it is an often overlooked reality.

Causes of Social Death

There are a range of situations and events that can lead to social death including the effects of violence, disasters, war, disease or the impact of a government's policy. It is a condition that affects disadvantaged groups, such as people living in poverty or in remote areas of the world. It is also a condition that occurs in people with disabilities and those who suffer from advanced dementia. It is a difficult time for these people and it can be traumatic, stressful or even deadly.

Consequences of Social Death

During the process of social death, people can lose their sense of belonging to a group, culture or place and they will be considered to have no value in society. Their legal protection and autonomy will be weakened and they will have little hope of defending themselves against attacks or harm. When these people lose their social identity and relationships, they have no one to turn to for help or advice. They are also deprived of their spiritual beliefs and faith, as well as their hope for the future.

They are not treated as a human being, as they do not receive adequate care or have their rights to be protected under law respected. This can result in them being treated as a dead body rather than a person who has died. In this situation, the concept of social death is important to consider in order to improve end of life care practices and ensure the best possible outcome for all patients and their relatives. It is therefore important to examine how the concepts of communication and preference are understood within this context.

Research on Social Death

The study was conducted by a research team from the Institute of Sociology and Medical Social Sciences, University of Bath, UK. It was a mixed-methods approach that included the analysis of 400 articles in the first stage and out of them, 148 documents were considered relevant for the study.

During the first stage of the study, the authors searched for all the articles that had been published in English using the keyword phrase "social death". The search results were screened according to the study objectives and all the items and points consistent with the concept's attributes, antecedents, consequences, associated concepts, alternative terms and definition were extracted.

The main attribute of the concept is that it refers to the loss of social identity and the loss of social relations (social withdrawal). It can also be related to deficiencies resulting from various diseases and the inefficiencies of the human body.

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