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J Adv Nurs. 2007 Jul;59(1):86-96. Epub 2007 Jun 3.

Towards a conceptual evaluation of transience in relation to palliative care.

Author information

1
Aras Moyola, Department of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, The National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. philip.larkin@nuigalway.ie

Abstract

AIM:

This paper is a report of a concept evaluation of transience and its relevance to palliative care.

BACKGROUND:

A qualitative study into palliative care patients' experiences of transition revealed a gap between current definitions of transition and their expression of the palliative care experience. Transience appears to offer a better definition but remains conceptually weak, with limited definition in a healthcare context.

METHODS:

A qualitative conceptual evaluation of transience was undertaken using two case examples, interview data and the literature. Multiple sources were used to identify the literature (1966-2006), including a search on Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Medline, and Ovid and Arts and Humanities Index using the keywords 'transience' and 'palliative care'. Thirty-one papers related to transience were retrieved. Analysis and synthesis formulated a theoretical definition of transience relative to palliative care.

FINDINGS:

Transience is a nascent concept. Preconditions and outcomes of transience appear contextually dependent, which may inhibit its conceptual development. Transience depicts a fragile emotional state related to sudden change and uncertainty at end-of-life, exhibited as a feeling of stasis. Defining attributes would seem to include fragility, suddenness, powerlessness, impermanence, time, space, uncertainty, separation and homelessness.

CONCLUSIONS:

Transience is potentially more meaningful for palliative care in understanding the impact of end-of-life experiences for patients than current conceptualizations of transition as a process towards resolution. As a nascent concept, it remains strongly encapsulated within a framework of transition and further conceptual development is needed to enhance its maturity and refinement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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