Life values of elderly people suffering from incurable cancer: A literature review
SourcePatient Education and Counseling, 100, 10, (2017), pp. 1778-1786
Article / Letter to editor
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Patient Education and Counseling
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: Due to aging Western societies, older patients suffering from incurable cancer will present themselves more often to health care professionals. To be of service to these severely ill elderly patients, more knowledge is needed on which life values are guiding them through their last phases of life. This review aims to describe which life values play an important part in the lives of elderly people suffering from incurable cancer. METHODS: We conducted a literature review with a structured search to identify empirical studies (January 1950-February 2016) using six databases. RESULTS: The analysis of thirty articles resulted in the extensive description of eight life values: comfort, continuity, humility, dignity, honesty, optimism, hope and preparedness. CONCLUSION: Elderly patients suffering from incurable cancer use the abovementioned life values to give meaning to a life interrupted by disease. Furthermore, these values will play a role in communication and decision-making. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Knowledge about life values can help professionals discuss and clarify personal preferences with elderly patients suffering from incurable cancer, contributing to more personalized care and treatment. Communication should focus on to what extent patient empowerment, life-prolonging treatment and the involvement of the patient's supporting systems suit the wishes of these patients.
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