Interview with Jonathan Koffman

1. Can you describe the research you have been doing on ethnicity and palliative care, the methods that you used and what you have wanted to find out? 

2. How did that research develop?

3. What were the main findings of the research?

4. What have you been finding in your most recent on-going work on the new Census data on ethnicity and what implications you think the data have for palliative care?

5. What are the main challenges in providing good quality palliative care in the UK at this time?

Questions that can be asked when assessing pain and other symptoms

Why do you think you have this pain? 

What does your pain mean to you? 

How severe is your pain? How long do you think it will last? 

What are the biggest problems that your pain causes you? 

Do religion and/or spirituality feature within your life? Have they helped you understand why you are in pain? Do they help you to live with your pain? 

These and other questions are included in Jonathan's chapter 'The meaning of illness and symptoms' in the 2009 edited collection 'Narrative and Stories in Health Care: illness, Dying and Bereavement' .

Full interview

Jonathan Koffman, a Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care at the Cicely Saunders Institute in London. He has been researching ethnicity and end of life care for many years. In June 2013, I interviewed Jonathan about his research on pain amongst African Caribbean patients in South East London. What were the main findings of his research? What are the challenges in providing more accessible and good quality palliative care? Could he donate a story to the project...


Here are links to two of the studies that Jonathan refers to on culture and pain, and on happiness:       
 Cultural meanings of pain: a qualitative study of Black Caribbean and White British patients with advanced cancer.
Koffman J, Morgan M, Edmonds P, Speck P, Higginson I.
Meanings of happiness among two ethnic groups living with advanced cancer in south London: a qualitative study.
Koffman J, Morgan M, Edmonds P, Speck P, Siegert R, Higginson IJ.