The context of care as a supporting axis for comfort in a palliative care unit

Raquel Alexandra Machado Pereira*, Patrícia Cruz Pontífice Sousa Valente Ribeiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The context of care determines and organizes practices through its structures and guiding principles. It is sometimes a space that generates tension and multiple choices, variable in the provision of different care and uncertain in its duration. We can consider that the construction of the comfort process does not only depend on the will of its actors and the situation itself, but is also conditioned by the professional, cultural, and social context in which it is inserted. This article is part of a doctoral study in the field of comfort in a palliative care unit, and these are some of the partial results that emerged. Design: Qualitative study using ethnographic approach. Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with 18 patients at the end of life and their matched significant family members (18) and 21 health professionals. We also conducted a participant observation of care situations. Results/discussion: The context of action, where meanings and practices are learned, is linked to a certain identity that is related to practical, contextual knowledge, linked to a collective and to a feeling of belonging. The relationship between the various factors that shape the Care Context in the palliative care unit studied, constitute the three domains of this topic, specifically: the integrative and inclusive environment, the conceptions of care, and the inclusive factors of organizational culture. Conclusion: The specific context was determinant as a supporting axis for comfort in this palliative care unit. The context of care, where objects and provisions support the construction of the comfort process as an entity that integrates culture, established conceptions of care, allowing the deepening of knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalPalliative Care and Social Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Comfort
  • Context of care
  • Ethnography
  • Palliative care


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