Nurses' involvement in end-of-life discussions with incurable cancer patients and family caregivers - An integrative review

T Ikander*, M Raunkiær, O Hansen, K B Dieperink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative & Supportive Care
Volume20
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)570-581
ISSN1478-9515
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22. Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Advanced cancer
  • End-of-life discussions
  • Oncology nurses
  • Palliative care
  • Caregivers
  • Humans
  • Nurses
  • Death
  • Neoplasms/complications

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