The Concept of Hope in Nursing 3: Hope and Palliative Care Nursing

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This article is the third in a series of six that explores the nature of hope, reviews the existing theoretical and empirical work in several discrete areas of nursing, and provides case studies to illustrate the role that hope plays in clinical situations. This article focuses on hope within the specialty area of palliative care nursing. Nurse researchers have been instrumental in our current early understandings of hope in palliative care. Studies of hope in palliative care, over the past decades, have focused primarily on those individuals in the advanced stages of cancer and the human immunodeficiency virus. Studies using quantitative methodology have focused on exploring hope levels across the dying trajectory and the relationship between hope and other psychosocial variables while those using qualitative methodology have focused on the meaning of hope and elucidating how terminally ill individual maintain and engender their hope. Research supports that the clinician is an instrument through which hope can be assessed and administered. There is a need for further rigorous investigation of the role of hope during the terminal phase of an illness with specific emphasis on capturing the intangible inner experiences of hope and on the validation of interventions/strategies that develop and maintain hope for both the terminally ill person and his/her family caregivers and significant others.


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