AIM: To review current evidence of nurses' involvement in end-of-life discussions with incurable cancer patients and their family caregivers.
DESIGN: We conducted a systematic integrative review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines: PROSPERO, registration number: CRD42020186204.
DATA SOURCES: CINAHL, Medline, PsycInfo, Embase. We searched for primary research between 2010 and 2020.
RESULTS: Of 3,271 references, we found 15 eligible articles: qualitative (n = 12) and quantitative (n = 3). The studies focused on oncology nurses' perspective of involvement in end-of-life discussions. The data analysis resulted in four overall themes: (1) Nursing roles; the advocating, supporting, and reframing roles, and an undefined task, for example in medical consultations, (2) Trust building, (3) Nurse competences, and (4) Medical issues.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The nurses have several roles in end-of-life discussions, but insufficient competencies to be involved in that kind of discussions, for example to involve and communicate with families. The findings implicate an educational need among the nurses. However, it also points toward an organizational change in the outpatient clinics, for example that end-of-life discussions follow a more structured approach, are offered in a scheduled manner, and that nurses invite the family caregivers to attend.
- Advanced cancer
- End-of-life discussions
- Oncology nurses
- Palliative care