Signs, Symptoms, and Characteristics Associated With End of Life in People With a Hematologic Malignancy: A Review of the Literature

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Problem Identification:

Identifying people with hematologic cancer who are at risk of deteriorating and dying is essential to enable open, honest discussions, leading to appropriate decision making and effective end-of-life care.

Literature Search:

PubMed, CINAHL®, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched from January 2005 to December 2015 for descriptive observational studies.

Data Evaluation:

Critique of the studies was guided by the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Cohort Study Checklist.


Twelve studies were included. The majority of studies (n = 8) sampled patients from palliative populations, and most were retrospective (n = 11). A number of signs, symptoms, and characteristics associated with end of life in people with a hematolgic malignancy were identified, including pain, hematopoietic dysfunction, dyspnea, and reduced oral intake.


The studies described a clinical scenario of deterioration, largely in a palliative population. Findings indicate that people with a hematologic malignancy share certain clinical signs of deterioration with other populations and receive a high level of medical interventions at the end of life.

Implications for Practice:

Nurses are well positioned to identify many of the signs, symptoms, and characteristics found in this review and can play a key role in identifying when a person is nearing the end of life.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles