Moral ambiguity in media reports of dying alone

Nicola Turner, Glenys Caswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


More older people are living alone in the UK, thereby increasing the prospect of dying alone at home. Lone deaths tend to be regarded as bad deaths, in that they contravene notions of accompaniment and open awareness espoused in UK end of life care policies. We describe a media analysis of dying alone conducted in two phases. First, we revisited a previous media analysis to examine whether news reporting of dying alone has changed. Second, we focussed on a single case study to explore how an account of a lone death unfolded during the days following its discovery. We found that dying alone remains a threat to individual and collective moral reputations. However, we also identified reports in which dying alone was presented as acceptable in some circumstances, and as congruent with aspects of a good death. We suggest that dying alone can be made good through media reporting, reflecting the individual choice and autonomy associated with a good death. There is potential for news media to revise cultural scripts of dying, largely based on the experiences of people dying under medical supervision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Moral ambiguity in media reports of dying alone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this