Characteristics of Nursing Care for Terminally Ill Patients in Hospice/Palliative Care Unit


The purpose of this study was to clarify the characteristics of nursing care for patient with terminally ill in the hospice/palliative care units. Semi-structured interviews on “communication, care, spiritual pain care and prediction of worsening of symptoms” were conducted, incorporating items indicated as important principles of palliative care by Lugton et al. Sixteen nurses at five hospice/ palliative care facilities in urban areas of Japan were surveyed in 2013, and results were analyzed qualitatively. Following characteristics by hospice/palliative care nurses (HPN) were categorized as [HPN sharing meaningful time with the patient] and [HPN’s continual attempts to understand the world in which the patient lives] in the communication; as [HPN providing comfortable care so that patients can value their last moments] and [HPN’s efforts to attend to patients so they can die as they hope to] in the care; and as [HPN’s observation in a range that does not interfere with the patient’s comfort] and [HPN senses that something is different from before] in the prediction of worsening of symptoms. Common characteristic was <HPN’s support for patients approaching a natural death>. In this study, spiritual pain care was included in the communication and care, and could not be extracted alone. It was suggested that an HPN provides communication, care and prediction of worsening of symptoms with excellent judgment and technological competency, while placing importance on offering support for the patient’s natural death.

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Tsutsumi, K. , Sekido, K. and Tanioka, T. (2014) Characteristics of Nursing Care for Terminally Ill Patients in Hospice/Palliative Care Unit. Health, 6, 2121-2128. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.616246.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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