Working with emotion: Challenge and resource in palliative day care settings

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2008). Working with emotion: Challenge and resource in palliative day care settings. In: Association of Palliative Day Care Leaders Conference, 8-10 Sep 2008, Birmingham, UK.



Although it is useful to adopt a cross-disciplinary approach in exploring both theory and practice (and the value of organisational theory to the discussion of emotionality at work remains significant), it is important to reflect that the labour of paid care, despite bureaucratic attempts to commodify this, remains not just a service or business interaction but one that requires substantial emotional input on the part of the employed worker (Edwards and Wajcman, 2005). This is especially the case in respect of end of life care where the emphasis on what I will term ‘continuous personal relationship work’ is key to guiding practice. This particular form of ‘relationship work’, with emotion and the outward expression of feelings at its core, holds both challenges and opportunities for practitioners and also for volunteers whose positive contribution to day care is now well recognised (Andersson and Ohlen, 2005). Drawing on recent research conducted at a community hospice cancer drop-in day care facility (see Watts, 2008b for a discussion of the study’s methodological aspects), some of these challenges are explored below.

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