Bereaved family members’ perspectives on suffering among older rural cancer patients in palliative home nursing care: A qualitative study

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Little is known about experiences with receiving home nursing care when old, living in a rural area, and suffering from end-stage cancer. The aim of this study was thus to investigate bereaved family members’ perceptions of suffering by their older relatives when receiving palliative home nursing care. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 family members, in Norway during autumn 2015, and directed content analysis guided by Katie Eriksson's theoretical framework on human suffering was performed upon the data. The two main categories identified reflected expressions of both suffering and well-being. Expressions of suffering were related to illness, to care and to life and supported the theory. Expressions of well-being were related to other people (e.g. familiar people and nurses), to home and to activity. The results indicate a need to review and possibly expand the perspective of what should motivate care. Nursing and palliative care that become purely disease and symptom-focused may end up with giving up and divert the attention to social and cultural factors that may contribute to well-being when cure is not the goal.

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