PURPOSE: Providers have cited fear of taking away hope from patients as one of the principal reasons for deferring advance care planning (ACP). However, research is lacking on the relationship between ACP and hope. We sought to investigate the potential association between ACP and hope in advanced cancer.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a primary palliative care intervention trial. All patients had advanced solid cancers. Three domains of ACP were measured using validated questions to assess discussion with oncologists about end-of-life (EOL) planning, selection of a surrogate decision maker, and completion of an advance directive. Hope was measured using the Hearth Hope Index (HHI). Multivariable regression was performed, adjusting for variables associated with hope or ACP.
RESULTS: A total of 672 patients were included in this analysis. The mean age was 69.3 ± 10.2 years; 54% were female, and 94% were White. Twenty percent of patients (132 of 661) reported having a discussion about EOL planning, 51% (342 of 668) reported completing an advance directive, and 85% (565 of 666) had chosen a surrogate. There was no difference in hope between patients who had and had not had an EOL discussion (adjusted mean difference in HHI, 0.55; P = .181 for adjusted regression), chosen a surrogate (adjusted HHI difference, 0.31; P = .512), or completed an advance directive (adjusted HHI difference, 0.11; P = .752).
CONCLUSION: In this study, hope was equivalent among patients who had or had not completed 3 important domains of ACP. These findings do not support concerns that ACP is associated with decreased hope for patients with advanced cancer.
Objective: Palliative care (PC) aims to improve patients' and families' quality of life through an approach that relieves physical, psychosocial, and spiritual suffering, although the latter continues to be under-assessed and under-treated. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of physical, psychosocial, and hope assessments documented by a PC team in the first PC consultation.
Method: The retrospective descriptive analysis of all first PC consultations registered in our anonymized database (December 2018–January 2020), searching for written documentation regarding (1) Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) physical subscale (pain, tiredness, nausea, drowsiness, appetite, shortness of breath, constipation, insomnia, and well-being), (2) the single question “Are you depressed?” (SQD), (3) the question “Do you feel anxious?” (SQA), (4) feeling a burden, (5) hope-related concerns, (6) the dignity question (DQ), and (7) will to live (WtL).
Results: Of the 174 total of patients anonymously registered in our database, 141 PC home patients were considered for analysis; 63% were male, average age was 70 years, the majority had malignancies (82%), with a mean performance status of 52%. Evidence of written documentation was (1) ESAS pain (96%), tiredness (89%), nausea (89%), drowsiness (79%), appetite (89%), shortness of breath (82%), constipation (74%), insomnia (72%), and well-being (52%); (2) the SQD (39%); (3) the SQA (11%); (4) burden (26%); (5) hope (11%); (6) the DQ (33%); and (7) WtL (33%). Significant differences were found between the frequencies of all documented items of the ESAS physical subscale (29%), and all documented psychosocial items (SQD + SQA + burden + DQ) (1%), hope (11%), and WtL (33%) (p = 0.0000; p = 0.0005; p = 0.0181, respectively).
Significance of results: There were differences between documentation of psychosocial, hope, and physical assessments after the first PC consultation, with the latter being much more frequent. Further research using multicenter data is now required to help identify barriers in assessing and documenting non-physical domains of end-of-life experience.
Caring for persons at the end of life has dramatically changed in the last 20 years. Improved chronic illness management and aggressive life-sustaining measures for once-fatal illnesses have significantly increased longevity. People with life-limiting illnesses and their families are asked to make complex and difficult decisions about end-of-life, palliative, and hospice care. The purpose of this study was to discover and describe the culture care expressions, patterns, and practices influencing rural Appalachian families making decisions at the end of life. The qualitative, ethnonursing research method was used to analyze data from 25 interviews. The 4 themes discovered provide insights that could help improve this underserved population's access to palliative and hospice care, which in turn could help them experience a dignified death. Recommendations for health care providers could help reduce rural Appalachians' health disparities and promote meaningful, culturally congruent end-of-life care.
Alonso was a 10-year-old boy with a recurrent, re-fractory brain tumor whose disease progressed through multiple therapies over many years. When no additional cancer-directed options remained, Alonso was admitted tothe hospital for symptom management as he approached the end of his life. Although Alonso was unresponsive and posturing, his family continued to hope desperately for a miracle. As they kept vigil around the bedside of his frail body, praying and waiting, they gradually began to notice—and then fixate on—how the sharp angle of his bones protruded more with each passing day.
AIM: To identify the associated factors of hope during treatment in cancer patients.
BACKGROUND: Hope is very important to cancer patients at all stages of the disease process. Hope is seen as an important coping mechanism. Most research about hope in cancer patients considered the end of life or in palliative care. Several and different factors are associated with hope. It is not yet sufficiently clear which factors are associated with hope during the treatment.
DESIGN: A systematic literature review of quantitative empirical studies on hope in cancer patients during treatment.
DATA SOURCES: Search in MEDLINE (PubMed interface), CINAHL (EBSCO interface), Psychinfo and Cochrane (January 2009-December 2018).
REVIEW METHODS: Empirical quantitative studies were included regardless of the disease stage, written in English or Dutch, measuring hope from the perspective of cancer patients. Two authors independently screened all the studies and assessed their quality.
RESULTS: Thirty-three studies were included. Positive relationship has been established between hope and quality of life, social support, spiritual and existential well-being. Hope appears to be negatively associated with symptom burden, psychological distress and depression. There appears to be no relationship between hope and demographic and clinical variables. The relationship between anxiety and hope remains unclear.
CONCLUSIONS: Hope primarily seems to be a process that takes place in a person's inner being rather than being determined from outside.
IMPACT: Health professionals may want to focus on the meaning of hope for cancer patients in relation to the associated factors. A better understanding of the meaning of hope during treatment can be of great value in supporting cancer patients with regard to treatment decisions, psychosocial support, the experienced quality of life and symptom burden and any wishes they may have with regard to advanced care planning.
The goal of this paper is to introduce the false hope harms (FHH) argument, as a new concept in healthcare. The FHH argument embodies a conglomerate of specific harms that have not convinced providers to stop endorsing false hope. In this paper, it is submitted that the healthcare profession has an obligation to avoid collaborating or participating in, propagating or augmenting false hope in medicine. Although hope serves important functions-it can be 'therapeutic' and important for patients' 'self-identity as active agents'- the presentation of false hope along the hope continuum entails a misconstrued balancing act. By not speaking up against unrealistic patient and family requests-including some requests for rights to try, resuscitative efforts in terminally ill patients, or other demands for non-beneficial treatments-healthcare providers precipitate harms, i.e., the FHH. These harms arise on both individual and communal levels and cannot be ignored. The goal of this paper is not to offer a definition of false hope, because the phenomenon of false hope is too complex for any simple definition. Instead, this paper seeks to make four points while outlining the FHH argument: consumer medicine and false hope are connected; providers and patients are very vulnerable in the system of consumer medicine; providers have a responsibility to stand up against false hope; and how the FHH argument could perhaps offer a footing to resist giving in to false hope.
We do not know how much clinical physicians carrying out clinical trials in oncology and haematology struggle with ethical concerns. To our knowledge, no empirical research exists on these questions in a Nordic context. Therefore, this study aims to learn what kinds of ethical challenges physicians in Sweden, Denmark and Finland (n = 29) face when caring for patients in clinical trials; and what strategies, if any, they have developed to deal with them. The main findings were that clinical cancer trials pose ethical challenges related to autonomy issues, unreasonable hope for benefits and the therapeutic misconception. Nevertheless, some physicians expressed that struggling with such challenges was not of great concern. This conveys a culture of hope where health care professionals and patients uphold hope and mutually support belief in clinical trials. This culture being implicit, physicians need opportunities to deliberately reflect over the characteristics that should constitute this culture.
OBJECTIVES: Subjective well-being has been associated with decreased work burnout and elevated work engagement. We investigated the impact of hope and meaning in life on subjective well-being among workers in a hospice care setting. Comparison was made to health-care workers in a rehabilitation unit.
METHODS: Thirty-five hospice care workers were surveyed and their responses compared with those of 36 rehabilitation workers. Survey instruments measuring hope, meaning in life, work engagement, and satisfaction with life were utilized.
RESULTS: Individuals working in a hospice care center have significantly higher levels of work engagement than their counterparts in rehabilitation. For both groups, hope was significantly related to subjective well-being. For hospice care but not rehabilitation workers, meaning in life was also related to subjective well-being. Multivariate analysis showed that hope and meaning in life were independent factors predicting subjective well-being in hospice care workers.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Hospice care workers are highly engaged in their work despite the challenging nature of their work. What characterizes these workers is a level of subjective well-being that is related to both meaning in life and hope. Maintaining a high level of subjective well-being may be an important factor in preventing burnout among those working in hospice care settings.
Hope is an important topic in spiritual care in palliative care but the experiences of chaplains with hope have hardly been explored. The objective of this study was to explore Dutch chaplains' experiences with hope in palliative care. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, which were thematically analyzed. The 10 chaplains had a variety of ordinations: Muslim, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Humanistic, or otherwise. Participants spoke about changes in patients' hope, often implying despair and surrender, in which patients' self-reflection was pivotal. Participants felt witnesses of hope, not by offering hope, but by acknowledging patients' hope and despair while being with their patients. They criticized other professionals who, not bearing witness to these experiences, tried to offer hope to patients. We conclude that chaplains may become witnesses of hope in times of despair, which includes the (ideological) critical function of spiritual care.
The concepts of hope and its absence, hopelessness, are seen as crucial in palliative care for people with motor neurone disease. A primary measure in psychological research on hopelessness in people with motor neurone disease is the Beck Hopelessness Scale. This scale can be understood as being conceptually based on the philosophical standard account of hope, which understands hope as an intentional expectancy. This essay argues that this is a misconstruction of hopelessness in palliative care. Rather, pre-intentional hope is essential for palliative care of people with motor neurone disease. Pre-intentional hope enables the formation of intentional hopes and is intrinsically relational. Finally, it is argued that the absence of pre-intentional hope should not be subjected to psychiatric diagnosis, for example, in the form of demoralization disorder.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the experience of hope that appears in a parent's blog presenting everyday life while caring for a child with Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome). The author, Rebekah Peterson, began her blog on 17 March 2011 and continues to post information on her son Aaron's care. The analysis of hope in the blog is carried out using a mixed methodology: initial and focused coding using Charmaz's constructed grounded theory and elements of Colaizzi's method. Each aspect of hope is coded through the blog author's statements, from which three main aspects of hope emerge: hope for the longest possible presence of Aaron with his family, hope for control over situations, pain, and symptoms, and existential facets of hope. These various aspects reveal to what extent the experience of hope is unique. Additionally, analyzing the experience of parental hope uncovers the additional problem of inappropriate communication by health care professionals (HCPs) in intensive care units, particularly when discussing the termination of causal treatment. The problem may be solved through proper education for HCPs and serious consideration of parental involvement in order to properly elaborate guidelines on this issue. The three main aspects of parental hope discussed in this paper might expand knowledge on the issue, helping HCPs to better understand the parents' experience of care and to help sustain parental hope in pediatric palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study is to compare the hope of rural and urban inhabitants in the terminal stage of a neoplastic disease covered by stationary hospice care.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study was carried out among patients in the terminal phase of a neoplastic disease. They were patients of both 24-hour and daily palliative and hospice care units throughout the country. The study group consisted of 246 patients, average age - 59.5, the youngest respondent was 18 and the oldest - 90. The B. L. Block (NCN-36) test, prepared for people struggling with serious life-threatening diseases, was used. Comparison of the results with regard to the place of residence was based on the test Friedman ANOVA and Kendall compatibility factor. The general comparison of hope in individual dimensions and globally with the division into the degree of urbanization, was based on the Kruskal-Wallis test.
RESULTS: On the basis of factor analysis, 4 scales constructed from 8 items branch were distinguished. The following scales are used to study hope in the situational dimension - health, the telek-temporal dimension - goals, the spiritual dimension - religious beliefs and in the emotional-affective (affective) dimension - motivations.
CONCLUSIONS: The strength of hope in people in the terminal phase of cancer, residing in villages, settlements, small, medium and large cities, was similar and depended on its magnitude. Of all the manifestations of hope, the greatest variation in results occurred in the subjects when they encountered serious problems and difficulties. The inhabitants of medium-sized cities were characterized by a higher hope at that time.
This study examines the prevalence of religiosity, death anxiety, and hope in a sample of New Zealand community hospice patients in the last 6 months of life. It explores the factors triggering distress or hope and examines whether religiosity is protective against death anxiety for this population. Early studies showed religious faith helps relieve death anxiety, but later work suggests this may only be the case in societies which are generally religious. Very little research has been conducted on this topic in New Zealand, from which recent censuses indicate is an increasingly secular country. If religion is not an important source of hope for dying, it is important to explore what factors do help relieve existential anxiety and to consider their clinical relevance. This study confirmed that organized religion was not a major support factor. Yet several people who declared themselves nonreligious scored highly for intrinsic religiosity and were among the most hopeful participants. This could suggest that spirituality may be more relevant than organized religion in relieving existential distress. The main source of hope for most participants was joyful memories and meaningful relationships. Fear of being a burden and of causing family suffering were the most significant causes of distress. Systematic spiritual assessment for all patients, not just those with a declared religious faith, a biography service, and psychotherapy, may all have a role in managing death anxiety at the end of life. Further work with larger and more diverse populations would be needed to confirm these findings.
The psychological phenotype in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is less negative than in other neurodegenerative diseases, manifested by a lower prevalence of psychopathology, such as anxiety and major depression, and a higher perceived quality of life by patients, irrespective of physical impairment. We hypothesized that positive psychological factors such as hope, optimism, and self-efficacy in people with ALS (PALS) were key determinants of satisfaction with life (SWL), despite physical impairment, and were protective against psychopathology. Forty PALS, at different functional levels, completed objective questionnaires to evaluate psychological factors of hope, optimism, self-efficacy, and SWL. Approximately 41% of the variance in SWL was accounted for by the Agency factor of hope. The results indicated that SWL was significantly correlated to specific positive psychological factors of hope and self-efficacy. Physical impairment was not correlated with positive psychological factors or SWL. These results support the role of hope and self-efficacy in maintaining satisfaction with life in PALS and consideration of these potentially modifiable factors could improve palliative therapy.
Hope is of great importance for patients diagnosed with cancer, especially those that are terminally ill. The diagnosis often puts an end to the realization of personal, social, and professional goals. The aim of this study was to characterize the hope of hospitalized patients diagnosed with cancer in the terminal phase of the disease. The research tool used in the study was Block's hope test (NCN-36; NCN- Nadzieja Chorych Nowotworowych - Hope of Cancer Patients), designed for patients with life-threatening diseases. The results showed that the patients were characterized by a moderate level of global hope. The highest levels of hope were noted in the spiritual-religious area and the lowest levels of hope concerned curing the disease. Patients exhibited varied levels of hope and varied internal structures of hope. They presented four different types of hope: optimistic, moderate, religious, and weak. Optimistic hope was found most frequently in patients diagnosed with a terminal phase of cancer, while weak hope was represented by the smallest group of these patients.
What might the good life amount to at the margins of life? Taking our point of departure in Jonathan Lear’s notions of ontological breakdown and radical hope as well as the phenomenology of lived time, we explore hope within the institutional aging process in Denmark. Drawing on two ethnographic cases, Vagn and Thea, we propose a phenomenological and responsive hope emerging within complex temporalities. This is a relational hope to be included among the living, to be a human being among others. Importantly, it is neither optimistic nor naive but rather hope practiced in the face of devastating life circumstances.
BACKGROUND: There is evidence indicating that family sense of coherence predicts quality of family life and promotes family well-being. In families living with the palliative phase of cancer, low hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression are common in both persons with cancer and their family members.
AIM: To determine whether family sense of coherence was associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression, respectively, in persons with cancer in the palliative phase and their family members.
DESIGN: An observational, cross-sectional, multicentre study was conducted. Nested linear regression analyses were performed in two blocks to determine whether family sense of coherence was associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Persons with cancer (n = 179) and their family members (n = 165) were recruited from two oncology clinics and two palliative centres in three regions in Sweden.
RESULTS: The main findings showed that family sense of coherence was significantly and independently associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Stronger family sense of coherence was associated with higher hope and lower anxiety and symptoms of depression levels in both persons with cancer and their family members.
CONCLUSION: Health care providers should strive to identify families with weak family sense of coherence, because of its associations with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression, in order to offer them professional support and thereby achieve increased well-being during the palliative phase of cancer. Future studies should expand our knowledge of family sense of coherence and how to identify families at risk of lower levels of well-being.
Aim: Millions of new cancer cases are diagnosed each year. Patients often become hopeless during the disease. This study aimed to develop a short-intervention instrument targeted to raise hope in cancer patients.
Methods: Using a panel of experts, an instrument was developed, which consisted of 11 counseling items. The instrument was applied to a sample of 153 palliative care cancer patients randomized into three groups (G1: instrument applied by Rater 1, G2: control, and G3: instrument applied by Rater 2). Application of the instrument required 20-30 minutes. Using the Herth Hope Index (HHI) scores as the main outcome, changes over time (baseline, 1-hour, and one-week) were evaluated.
Results: The mean baseline HHI scores were 41.38 ±4.46. The HHI scores were statistically similar at the baseline (p>0.05) but significantly different at one hour and one week in favor of the G1 and G3 groups (p<0.001). In G1, the HHI significantly increased from baseline to one-hour measurements (t=-12.413, p<0.001) and remained unchanged at one week (t=1.088, p=0.282). Similarly, there was a significant increase in the HHI scores from baseline to one-hour measurements in G3 (t=-9.144, p<0.001), which remained unchanged between one hour and one week (t=-0.099, p=0.921).
Conclusion: This study demonstrated the effectiveness of a structured, short counseling intervention in increasing hope among palliative care cancer patients.
While working as a women's health nurse practitioner (NP) in the obstetric and gynecologic setting for 10 years, I found life circumstances steering my family and I to relocate. An opportunity arose for me to change gears and enter the world of women's health oncology. After seven months in my new role as a gynecologic oncology NP, I found myself sitting in a family meeting. The meeting involved myself, representing my clinical colleagues, along with team members from palliative care and social work. The patient was in her 80s with a diagnosis of recurrent endometrial cancer. Her health history included multiple previous surgeries and chemotherapy, and, unfortunately, she was no longer a safe candidate for treatment. She had comorbidities and chronic sequalae from past treatments.
The aging population in the United States is predicted to become one fifth of the population by 2050. With that increase, more individuals in the country will be experiencing chronic health conditions and the need for care, with end of life (EoL) becoming more of a topic that needs to be discussed. This study aims to explore the ways adult children talk to their parents about EoL, death, and dying. We discovered six themes: protection, meeting needs, guilt and regret, control, family dynamics, and communication type. Each of these was prevalent in responses to how adult children cope, how they cared for their parent, and how hope played into the interactions. We believe these themes will be helpful in developing a quantitative scale to study EoL further and be practical in helping adult children cope following death of their parent.