Exploring Everyday Ethics in Palliative Care in China: A Qualitative Empirical Bioethics Study

Project Details


Existing research and training in palliative care ethics appear not to focus on, or be tailored to, practice in China. This research aims to fill these gaps by: first, identifying and exploring the ethical challenges Chinese healthcare professionals have confronted during their provision of palliative care; second, identifying the ethical training they have received and the extent to which they feel prepared to address relevant challenges; and, third, proposing changes, for example, to existing training in order to better equip these professionals. The significance of this research includes offering up-to-date knowledge of palliative care provision and relevant ethical training in China, assessing the utility of these training schemes and eventually making insightful suggestions.
This is an "empirical bioethics" project, which has three phases (mapping-framing-shaping). The mapping phase involves literature reviews. The framing phase involves qualitative research. The researcher plans to retrieve and thematically analyse empirical data via one-to-one semi-structured interviews. Considering the unique cultural and social background, the data collection will be undertaken in Mandarin in selected hospitals in China. The shaping phase then combines the previous theoretical and empirical findings, using an "empirical bioethics" methodology - reflexive balancing - with a view to making recommendations for future practice.

Layman's description

How to make an ethical, or morally right, decisions has always been controversial, since everyone has their own moral standards. The provision of palliative care is no exception. In practice, healthcare professionals may encounter conflicts between patients', families' and their moral beliefs of what is best for patients. While this is not uncommon, this experience has not been thoroughly researched yet. In addition, different cultural backgrounds can also result in different conflicts. Currently, most studies focus on the West, and Asian cultures are rather underexplored. Therefore, I plan to investigate how Chinese healthcare professionals experience these conflicts during their practices of palliative care via one-to-one interviews. I will gain empirical knowledge about what these challenges are, if they have been trained to deal with it, and how effective these trainings are. Based on these results, I also expect to make insightful suggestions on its improvement.
Effective start/end date1/10/2130/09/24

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Population Health Science Institute


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