Karmic quest: Thai family caregivers promoting a peaceful death for people with AIDS Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper reports the constructions of karma by four Thai family caregivers living with a dying person with AIDS in Southern Thailand. These four families form a subset of a larger ethnographic case study exploring the experiences of families living with a relative with AIDS. Serial interviews, observations, and field journal were used as data collection methods with the four families. The findings indicated that the karmic quest is a dominant theme in the narratives of these families caring for their loved ones dying with AIDS. The 'calm and peaceful' death that is described in the palliative care literature equated with their desire for the Buddhist philosophy of a harmonious death. The families used the law of karma and reincarnation as their main frame of reference and mobilised their religious resources to create meaning and purpose. Karmic healing activities were aimed at ending suffering, promoting a peaceful and calm death and ensuring a better life in the next one. The findings are important for the development of palliative nursing practice in Thailand by acknowledging religious and cultural values to promote peaceful death.

publication date

  • December 2007