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District nurses’ role in fostering hope in end-stage cancer patients
  1. Carol Parker, Sister in Palliative Care
  1. Rosewood Centre for Day Support and Therapy, Dewsbury District Hospital, Dewsbury. At the time of writing, she was Community Staff Nurse, Leeds Primary Care Trust, and was undertaking the BSc (Hons) in Cancer Care at Leeds University. Email: carol. parker{at}midyorks.nhs.uk

Abstract

Hope is increasingly recognised as playing an important role in the coping strategies of people with advanced disease. Hope helps people in times of great uncertainty. Feeling hopeful can have a positive impact on the quality of life of patients coming to the end of their lives and their families. The majority of people with terminal illness spend most of their final year at home. District nurses have a crucial role in meeting the palliative care and supportive needs of terminally ill patients in the home environment. Associated literature has shown effective symptom management, ‘being there’ for patients and their families and effective communication are essential aspects of maintaining hope. This article explores what hope means to terminally ill patients with advanced cancer who may only have a short time left to live. It examines how patients who are in the advanced stages of disease engender and maintain their hope. It also discusses how district nurses can contribute to inspiring hope in patients who are approaching the end of life. A case example is provided. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Community nursing
  • District nursing
  • Hope
  • Palliative and end-of-life care
  • Supportive care

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