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"The communication I had with him back then is still stuck in my mind." Bereaved families of cancer patients' experiences for end-of-life communication

 Heejung Jeon  ;  Sanghee Kim  ;  Ilhak Lee 
 SUPPORTIVE CARE IN CANCER, Vol.31(5) : 277, 2023-04 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Bereavement* ; Communication ; Death ; Family ; Hospice Care* ; Humans ; Male ; Neoplasms* ; Qualitative Research ; Terminal Care*
Bereavement ; Cancer ; Communication ; End-of-life ; Family ; Qualitative research
PURPOSE: Communication with family members is important to end-of-life care for patients with cancer. It is an interactive engagement between terminally-ill cancer patients and their families through which they expand their mutual understanding to cope with losses and find meaning in death. This study aimed to describe the experiences of end-of-life communication between patients with cancer and their family members in South Korea.

METHODS: This is a qualitative descriptive study using in-depth semi-structured interviews. Ten bereaved family members with end-of-life communication experience with terminal cancer patients were recruited through purposive sampling. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 29 constructed meanings, 11 sub-categories, and the following 3 categories were derived: Offering a space for patients to reminisce and reflect, Building a bond, and Reflections on what we need. End-of-life communication primarily centered on the patients, with families struggling to share their stories with them. Although the families coped well, they also regretted the lack of meaningful communication with the patients, indicating a need for support to facilitate effective end-of-life communication.

CONCLUSION: The study highlighted concrete communication for finding meaning at the end-of-life for cancer patients and their families. We found that the families have the potential to communicate appropriately to cope with the patients' end-of-life. Nevertheless, end-of-life presents a unique challenge in which families require adequate support. Given the increasing number of patients and families dealing with end-of-life care in hospitals, healthcare providers should be mindful of their needs and help them cope effectively. © 2023. The Author(s).
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Appears in Collections:
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences (인문사회의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
3. College of Nursing (간호대학) > Dept. of Nursing (간호학과) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Sanghee(김상희) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9806-2757
Lee, Il Hak(이일학) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6531-8752
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