Bioethics Blogs

Accommodating care

Transplant caregiving and the melding of health care with home life in the United States

— Laura L. Heinemann

In this article, I explore how medical care responsibilities in the United States are shifting away from formal clinical contexts and into the home. Using organ transplant-related care as an illustrative example of this larger phenomenon, I trace the incorporation of health care into the home using three cases from ethnographic fieldwork near a major transplant center in the midwestern United States. Here, patients and loved ones transform their dwellings, lives, and relationships to attend to the demands of transplant medicine. Bringing together literature on hospitality, caregiving, houses and homes, and place and space in health care, I offer ‘accommodating care’ as a framework for understanding the materializing practices of home-based transplant care. This approach suggests avenues toward studying larger questions about the distinctiveness and overlap of medicine and home life.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.