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Portraying Hope in Palliative
Cancer Care.
A Qualitative Study

Verkætlanarábyrgd: Kristianna Hammer, RN, MSN, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Faroe Islands, Faculty of Natural and Health Sciences, Dept. of Nursing, Faroe Island.
Bjarni á Steig, Consultant in Hematology, internal - and palliative medicine, Department of Medicine, National Hospital of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.

This study describes the meaning of hope for patients with advanced cancer from both patients and their close relative’s perspective. The purpose is to portray hope in terminal cancer patients after teir first meeting in Palliative care unit. Hope is a natural part of life and can be regarded as a coping strategy as well as a factor for enhancing the quality of life both for the patient with advanced cancer and for their family (Mok, 2010).

Helping a patient to find hope in illness and suffering is a cornerstone of humanistic-oriented nursing where dignity, respect, integrity and caring are overarching values (Travelbee 2001, Martinsen 1996). Knowledge of how patients themselves feel hope at the time of when palliative treatment appears will enhance the nursing knowledge base and will increase understanding and opportunities for clinical nurses. Cancer is a common and often life-threatening disease. The word “cancer” can have a stigmatising meaning. Palliative care is becoming an increasingly important clinical field and there is a demand for valid research measures focusing not only on patients in palliative care but also on their relatives

This study is performed in two palliative care units in two different countries. Firstly at a University Hospital in the Faroe Islands and secondly at a Danish University Hospital; designed as a qualitative interview study (Kvale, 1994), with a phenomenological approach (Van Manen 1990) and a visual phenomenological approach (Mala G. Betensky 1995). Eight patients all diagnosed with incurable cancer, and their relatives will be interviewed after receiving a palliative diagnosis. Data is to be analyzed using a phenomenological and a visual approach. 

The results are expected to be presented in four articles and published in international, peer-reviewed journals. 

Perspective and Implication: 
This study will have important implications for the nursing profession as it will provide basic understanding of the skills that are important for conscious hope orientated nursing. Furthermore the study is expected to provide  basis for  creation of  family based hope theory, that can  help renew the organization of the hospital, the individual nurse and  education.

Hope, cancer, palliative care, relatives, hermeneutic-phenomenology, visual-phenomenology and drawings.