Hospital nurses' views of the signs and symptoms that herald the onset of the dying phase in oncology patients

G.F. van der Werff, Wolter Paans, Roos Nieweg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Determining the onset of the dying phase is important, because care aims and interventions change once this phase begins. In the dying phase, maximising comfort is paramount, even if doing so causes a deterioration of cognitive functions. In this delicate context, it is necessary to give special attention to the patient's personal wishes, spiritual guidance, and rituals, and to the emotional support of relatives. To initiate a care plan for the dying, health professionals must recognise and acknowledge when a patient enters the dying phase. This article describes hospital nurses' perspectives on the signs and symptoms that herald the onset of the dying phase in oncology patients, obtained via three focus group discussions. A broad range of signs and symptoms were reported and are presented here as a conceptual model. Further research is needed to determine whether the signs and symptoms that mark the onset of the dying phase in oncology patients may be tumour-specific.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
JournalInternational journal of palliative nursing
Volume18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • palliative nursing
  • dying phase
  • patient care

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