The commodification of care: A critical analysis of the for-profit home care market

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Lolich, Luciana
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Dublin Business School
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The home care industry has grown exponentially around the world. In end of life care, the delivery of home care has been promoted as the ideal type of formal care; offering cost savings to local authorities and ‘choice’ for patients and their families. However, there is a dark side to the commodification of care that is rarely discussed in the marketing literature. The pursuit of profits, contracting and bureaucratising care can reduce care to physical, measurable elements and might ignore the emotional and relational aspects of care which cannot easily be costed or detailed in contracts. This paper critically examines the elements of the marketing mix for ‘care packages’ and highlights the impact of commodification on two parties involved in the market exchange: vulnerable patients and workers.