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Adult nursing
Importance of family counselling for anticipatory grief in cancer care
  1. Margaret Dunham
  1. Nursing, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Margaret Dunham, School of Health & Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh EH11 4BN, UK; m.dunham{at}

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Commentary on: Hsiao CC, Hsieh SI, Kao CY, Chu TP. Factors affecting nurses' willingness and competency to provide anticipatory grief counseling for family caregivers of patients with terminal cancer. J Clin Nurs. 2022 Apr 18. doi: 10.1111/jocn.16335.

Implications for practice and research

  • A greater understanding of the physical and psychological consequences of anticipatory grief is needed.

  • Provision of support for grieving families and carers, including skills in counselling, should be acknowledged as an important part of the nursing role.


Cancer is a major cause of death worldwide accounting for almost one in six deaths.1 A cancer diagnosis affects the patient and their family and their psychological and physical well-being.2 Grief is a complex phenomenon and can occur a considerable time before someone dies,3 4 with complicated grief associated with much distress that can …

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  • Twitter @MargaretMDunham

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.