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J Psychosoc Oncol. 2013;31(3):334-55. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2013.778933.

Conditions that are significant for advanced cancer patients' coping with their suffering-as experienced by relatives.

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  • 1Research Unit of Clinical Nursing, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. susan.rydahl-hansen@regionh.dk

Abstract

As long as life could be lived as before patients could cope with their problems. But the progression of the illness challenged feelings and filled life with increasing levels of chaos and feelings of powerlessness. Relatives became involved quite late in the patients' interaction with the professionals, an interaction that was characterized by lack of continuity and the professionals' focus on the patient's sick body. It was therefore seldom that professionals had insight into the family's resources and need for professional support. This made it more difficult for the family to evaluate, control and cope with their suffering. Instead, patients gradually adapted to the professionals' and relatives' priorities and sometimes their control over the increasingly failing and dying body.

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