Experiences of Family Members Attending to Terminal Cancer Patients Dying in Hospitals Yuko Shinotsuka 1 , Michiko Inagaki 2 1St Luke's International Hospital 2Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science Division of Health Science Keyword: 家族 , 終末期 , がん , 体験 , 現象学 , family , terminal , cancer , experience , phenomenology pp.71-79
Published Date 2007/6/20
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 The purpose of this study was to describe family's experiences while attending to their terminal cancer relatives who were dying in the hospital and to clarify the meaning of these experiences. Further, we considered the nursing approach. The study conducted with a phenomenological approach. Thirteen family members participated in unstructured interviews and all data were analyzed. The following results were obtained.

 Family members attending to terminal cancer patients dying in the hospital tended to be confused by the gap between reality and their expectations. Despite this confusion, the family members attempted to understand the situation and prepare themselves to accept whatever occurred. They thus faced the reality of the relative's approaching death. Family members sometimes attached greater importance to the patient's well-being than to the patient's death. At the same time, the family members longed for the patients to survive, even though they knew that this was in fact impossible. The result was that the family members became exhausted by the cognitive dissonance produced by the two contradicting simultaneous desires. Although the family members felt quite helpless, primarily because they could not do anything to conquer the cancer, they found their own roles they could play. They recognized that they felt ceaseless anxiety about the patient, and they sought periods of time when they could stop thinking about the patient for a while so that their attention to the patient might be refreshed. As the period attending to the dying patients became long, they began to wish that they could get out of the current situation, which seemed to wear on endlessly. When the end actually came into sight, the family members felt relieved and appeared to accept the end in a somewhat relaxed manner.

 These results suggest it is important to understand the meaning of family's experience with fragility and strength.

Copyright © 2007, Japan Academy of Nursing Science. All rights reserved.


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