Into the Network: a Qualitative Study on Italian Palliative Care Mindscapes

  • Roberto Lusardi
  • Joseph Wherton
  • Stefano Tomelleri


This article discusses how symbolic and cultural processes can influence palliative care. These social dimensions are shaped in specific mindscapes and embodied in clinicians', patients' and caregivers' everyday practices. We present methods and results of an action-research programme carried out from autumn to winter 2014. We adopted qualitative network analysis as research method in order to transform mindscapes into symbolic maps. The data consists in 3 interactional maps produced by 26 health and social care professionals. The comparative analysis of maps highlights significant about palliative care networks: a) the power distribution are concentrated around specific networks’ hubs; b) the patient-centeredness does not necessarily mean patient empowerment; c) the prevalence of the health system and the persisting of medicalization on social world; d) the loss of the religious prominence on pain and death; e) the ‘glue’ function acted by the psychologist.