International Human Science Research Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk


Space, place and home: Lived experiences of hospice day care

The importance of setting and “place” is recognised by the fields of humanistic and health geography. The hospice, however, remains little understood in terms of how people experience it as a place. To explore the lived experiences of and the meanings that patients gave to spaces and places within a hospice, I adopted a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. My sample incorporated day-care patients, complementary therapists, and healthcare professionals. I used semi-structured interviews with patients shortly after they arrived to elicit their first impressions and meanings of the hospice as a place. To explore any shifts in hospice experience and meanings, I used photo-elicitation interviews administered some six weeks after the patient’s first interview. I discovered that, through three existential modes of being (what I term “drifting,” “sheltering,” and “venturing”), patients established a sense of “homelikeness,” both within the self and within the world. I observed how specific spaces and places facilitated a movement towards homelikeness, on one hand; or towards un-homelikeness, on the other hand. I argue that the three existential modes of being can be utilised as a conceptual framework for future research within a variety of settings in which the researcher wishes to understand the lived experiences and meanings that individuals give to space and place.
Period28 Jul 2011
Event typeConference
LocationOxford, United KingdomShow on map


  • hospice
  • palliative care
  • Qualitative Research
  • phenomenology
  • humanistic geography