Fostering hope in terminally ill patients
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Fostering hope in terminally ill patients

Jenny Buckley Head of education, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Chichester, West Sussex
Kaye Herth Dean, College of Allied Health and Nursing, Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA

Aim To investigate the meaning of hope, identify strategies that terminally ill patients use in maintaining and fostering hope during the final stage of life, explore changes in hope during the dying trajectory and investigate whether the results of a North American study by Herth (1990a), that explored the meaning of hope and identified strategies to promote it, could be replicated in England.

Method A total of 16 adults receiving palliative care took part in the study. Cross-sectional data were collected on all participants. Longitudinal data were collected on four of the 16 participants using methodological triangulation, which encompassed a background data form, the Herth Hope Index and a semi-structured interview (Herth 1990a).

Findings Hope remained present regardless of nearness to death. Seven hope-fostering categories and three hope-hindering categories were identified based on interview responses.

Conclusion The study supported Herth’s original study (Herth 1990a), and could serve as a guide to individual practitioners and the nursing team in developing an environment and interventions that foster hope in people receiving palliative care in any setting.

Nursing Standard. 19, 10, 33-41. doi: 10.7748/ns2004.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review