Awareness of dying: it needs words

Lokker, Martine; Zuylen, Lia; Veerbeek, Laetitia; Rijt, Carin; Heide, Agnes
June 2012
Supportive Care in Cancer;Jun2012, Vol. 20 Issue 6, p1227
Academic Journal
Purpose: The purpose of this research is to study to what extent dying patients are aware of the imminence of death, whether such awareness is associated with patient characteristics, symptoms and acceptance of dying, and whether medical records and nurses' and family caregivers' views on patients' awareness of dying agree. Methods: Nurses and family caregivers of 475 deceased patients from three different care settings in the southwest Netherlands were requested to fill out questionnaires. The two groups were asked whether a patient had been aware of the imminence of death. Also, medical records were screened for statements indicating that the patient had been informed of the imminence of death. Results: Nurses completed questionnaires about 472 patients, family caregivers about 280 patients (response 59%). According to the medical records, 51% of patients had been aware of the imminence of death; according to nurses, 58%; according to family caregivers, 62%. Patients who, according to their family caregiver, had been aware of the imminence of death were significantly more often in peace with dying and felt more often that life had been worth living. Inter-rater agreement on patients' awareness of dying was fair (Cohen's kappa = 0.23-0.31). Conclusions: Being aware of dying is associated with acceptance of dying, which supports the idea that open communication in the dying phase can contribute to the quality of the dying process. However, views on whether or not patients are aware of the imminence of death diverge between different caregivers. This suggests that communication in the dying phase of patients is open for improvement.


Related Articles

  • Supportive-Affective Group Experience for Persons with Life-Threatening Illness: Reducing Spiritual, Psychological, and Death-Related Distress in Dying Patients. Miller, Douglas K.; Chibnall, John T.; Videen, Susan D.; Duckro, Paul N. // Journal of Palliative Medicine;Apr2005, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p333 

    Background: Attention to psycho-socio-spiritual needs is considered critical by patients with life-threatening illnesses and their caregivers. Palliative care interventions that address these needs--particularly spirituality--are lacking. Objective: To evaluate the effects of an innovative...

  • Caregiving for the terminally ill: at what cost? Aoun, Samar M.; Kristjanson, Linda J.; Currow, David C.; Hudson, Peter L. // Palliative Medicine;Nov2005, Vol. 19 Issue 7, p551 

    This literature review exposes the nature and extent of physical and psychosocial morbidity and economic disadvantage, home palliative caregivers suffer as a direct result of their caregiving role. Research has demonstrated that caregivers providing support to individuals receiving palliative...

  • Supporting informal carers of dying patients: the district nurse's role. Eyre, Sharon // Nursing Standard;2/3/2010, Vol. 24 Issue 22, p43 

    This article explores the role of the district nurse in supporting family and friends who act as informal carers for patients who wish to die at home. The district nurse can support carers by promoting patient comfort, assessing carer needs, using communication and counselling skills, providing...

  • An exploration of family carers' experience of respite services in one specialist palliative care unit. Skilbeck, J. K.; Payne, S. A.; Ingleton, M. C.; Nolan, M.; Carey, I.; Hanson, A. // Palliative Medicine;Dec2005, Vol. 19 Issue 8, p610 

    Background: Changing patterns of care for terminally ill people mean that 90% of patients in the UK now spend the majority of their last year of life at home. It is now widely accepted that supporting individuals to die at home relies heavily on the availability of family carers to provide the...

  • Rx:RN: Dying Patients Who Refuse Nutrition and Hydration:. Yale, Stacy Lundin // Alternative & Complementary Therapies;Apr2005, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p100 

    Discusses the application of holistic nursing for dying patients who refuse nutrition and hydration. End-of-life issues; Subject of death by voluntary refusal of food and fluids (VRFF) in palliative care; Nurses' views on VRFF; Role of nurses in patient’s reconciliation with the death...

  • The palliative care nurse's role in supporting the adolescent child of a dying patient. Sweetland, Caroline // International Journal of Palliative Nursing;Jun2005, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p294 

    The aim of this article was to critically evaluate the author's role as a hospital-based palliative care nurse in supporting the adolescent child of a dying parent. The approach taken and the resources that were available have been reflected upon. The article explores whether it was possible to...

  • Using play therapy in paediatric palliative care: listening to the story and caring for the body. Breemen, Camara van // International Journal of Palliative Nursing;Oct2009, Vol. 15 Issue 10, p510 

    To be truly comprehensive, palliative care for children must address more than pain control and symptom management. Holistic care also encompasses attention to the child's relationships, hopes, fears and wishes. Parents and caregivers of dying children are generally the primary decision-makers...

  • Do Caregiver Beliefs Matter? An Exploratory Study of Palliative Caregiving Decisions in Singapore. Lin Jingyi; Ow, Rosaleen // Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work & Development (Department of;Jun2011, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p54 

    The purpose of this study was to explore how the death and dying-related beliefs of caregivers influence their actual caregiving behavior, and to explore factors that may prevent them from translating these beliefs into functional behavior. Using a biopsychosocial-spiritualenvironmental...

  • Caregivers' active role in palliative home care -- to encourage or to dissuade? A qualitative descriptive study. Weibull, Anna; Olesen, Frede; Neergaard, Mette Asbjoern // BMC Palliative Care;2008, Vol. 7, Special section p1 

    Background: Spouses' involvement in palliative care is often a prerequisite for home death, but it is unclear whether active involvement of the spouse, e.g. administering and being in charge of oral or subcutaneous medication or taking care of the patient's personal hygiene, could be harmful or...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics