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Oncology Nurses' Obstacles and Supportive Behaviors in End-of-Life Care: Providing Vital Family Care

Renea L. Beckstrand
Joan Collette
Lynn Callister
Karlen E. Luthy
ONF 2012, 39(5), E398-E406 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.E398-E406

Purpose/Objectives: To determine the impact of obstacles and supportive behaviors in end-of-life (EOL) care as perceived by hospital-based oncology nurses.

Design: A 69-item mailed survey.

Setting: National random sample.

Sample: 1,005 nurse members of the Oncology Nursing Society who had provided EOL care for patients with cancer.

Methods: Three mailings yielded 380 usable responses from 912 eligible respondents, resulting in a 42% return rate.

Main Research Variables: Size and frequency of EOL care obstacles and supportive behaviors for patients with cancer in a hospital setting.

Findings: Results of this research demonstrate the need for more EOL education and help in forming teams of nurses, social and palliative care workers, and physicians to support high-quality care. Another finding was the need for other nurses at a facility to give the nurse caring for the dying patient more time to support the patient and family.

Conclusions: Dealing with the family is vital in providing optimal EOL care to patients dying from cancer. By carefully listening to the experience, concerns, and recommendations of hospital-based oncology nurses, compassionate EOL care can be provided to these patients and their families.

Implications for Nursing: Oncology nurses are dedicated to providing the best EOL care to their patients and patients' families. This study helped to identify research-based obstacles and supportive behaviors regarding the provision of high-quality EOL care.

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