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Evid Based Nurs 8:96 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.3.96
  • Qualitative

Expressed desire for hastened death by patients with advanced cancer had several meanings and uses


 
 Q What are the meanings and uses of an expressed desire for hastened death in patients with advanced cancer?

DESIGN

Qualitative study using phenomenologic inquiry.

SETTING

An urban cancer research centre.

PATIENTS

7 English speaking patients (age range 40–79 y, 4 men) with advanced cancer who had expressed a desire for hastened death on ⩾1 occasion.

METHODS

Data were collected during a series of 2–6 indepth interviews that lasted 30–60 minutes. Time periods for each interview series ranged from 2 days to 6 months. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed, and themes were developed through content analysis.

MAIN FINDINGS

Chronic triggers that preceded the expressed desire for hastened death included debilitating progression of disease; perception of chronic and progressive loss of social support, dignity, autonomy, and sense of worth; and perception of being a burden to self or others in the present or future. Acute events preceding expression of a desire for hastened death included uncontrolled pain, shortness of breath, and medical information that produced fear, hopelessness, and a sense of dread.

9 distinct, but …

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