Family perceptions of worry, symptoms, and suffering in the dying

Susan E. Hickman, Virginia Tilden, Susan Tolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this exploratory study, family members of 63 decedents were interviewed by telephone, two to five months post-death, about their perceptions of their loved one's worries, symptoms, and suffering at the end of life. The most common worries reported focused on loss of bodily function (44%), being dependent (40%), and being a burden (39%). Distressing physical and psychological symptoms were reported. A majority (94%) of family members reported that their loved one suffered at the end of life, but only worries about loss of quality of life (e.g., being unable to participate in enjoyable activities) were predictive of reports of suffering. Findings suggest that worries, irrespective of the level of current symptoms, play an important role in the suffering of dying patients, and that treatment plans for the terminally ill should routinely explore both symptoms and worries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Palliative Care
Volume20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004

Fingerprint

dying
Psychological Stress
family member
loss of function
Terminally Ill
Telephone
telephone
quality of life
Quality of Life
Psychology
death
Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)

Cite this

Family perceptions of worry, symptoms, and suffering in the dying. / Hickman, Susan E.; Tilden, Virginia; Tolle, Susan.

In: Journal of Palliative Care, Vol. 20, No. 1, 03.2004, p. 20-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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