Skip to main content Accessibility help

The ‘regulated death’: a documentary analysis of the regulation and inspection of dying and death in English care homes for older people


In England, processes of regulation and inspection have been established to ensure that older people living in long-term care settings receive quality care. This paper describes how dying and death in care homes for older people is regulated and inspected. A documentary analysis was undertaken of the standard that addresses dying and death in the 2001 Care Homes for Older People: National Minimum Standards. Present in the standard is a ‘good death’ template drawn from constructions of best practice in palliative care. The way in which this national standard is enacted in the inspection process is described using a content analysis of the inspection reports from 226 care homes for older people. These present a narrow focus on dying and death, one that emphasises the older person's wishes and the degree of adherence to policies and procedures concerned with the dying and death event. A regulated death attenuates the ‘good death’ template and reflects both the inspection process and capabilities of the residents of care homes. If the regulation and inspection process is to integrate dying with living, a broader conception and regime of inspection is required. Only then will end-of-life care be provided that meets the diverse needs of older people who live in care homes.

Corresponding author
Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, United Kingdom. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed