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J Palliat Med. 2010 Jul;13(7):877-83. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2009.0393.

Health-care professionals' perspective on hope in the palliative care setting.

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School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


Hope is considered a coping strategy as well as a factor that enhances quality of life for patients with advanced cancer. Most studies on the meaning of hope are from the patients' perspective. However, the health-care professionals' view is also important since it may affect their practice. This study explored the meaning of hope to patients with advanced cancer from health-care professionals' perspective. This was a qualitative study that used a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Five focus group interviews were conducted with 23 participants including physicians, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, chaplains, and a physiotherapist working in the palliative care unit of a hospital in Hong Kong. Data analysis revealed four themes: expected hopelessness, a dynamic process of hope, hope-fostering strategies, and peace as the ultimate hope. It appears that health-care professionals' hopefulness contributes to the hopefulness of patients. Opportunities to reflect on their values, beliefs, and experience may help health-care professionals enhance their ability to foster hope in patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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