Travellers’ and gypsies’ death and dying

Regina McQuillan

in Death, Dying, and Social Differences

Second edition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599295
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731532 | DOI:
Travellers’ and gypsies’ death and dying

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This chapter discusses issues in the provision of palliative care to Travellers and Gypsies. Gypsies and Travellers form part of a world-wide group of people who have, or who have had, a nomadic way of life. These groups have experienced discrimination for centuries which can lead to distrust by these populations of the majority population. They have poorer health and shorter life expectancy than the majority population, are fearful of serious illness and death, and avoid discussing serious illness, especially cancer and dying. Reluctance to engage with hospice and palliative care, combined with the large crowds accompanying a patient and family during illness and bereavement, can mean that caring for Travellers and Gypsies can be challenging. Identifying key people in the family or support network, recognizing the need for clear explanations, and recognizing the differences between different families can all help health care staff and the Travellers and Gypsies cope.

Keywords: palliative care; end of life care; hospice care; nomadic groups; Travellers; Gypsies

Chapter.  3668 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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