alexa Bereaved relatives' experiences during the incurable phase of cancer: a qualitative interview study.


Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine

Author(s): Wijnhoven MN, Terpstra WE, van Rossem R, Haazer C, GunninkBoonstra N,

Abstract Share this page

Abstract OBJECTIVE: To examine bereaved relatives' experiences from time of diagnosis of incurable cancer until death with specific emphasis on their role in the (end-of-life) decision-making concerning chemotherapy. DESIGN: Qualitative interview study. SETTING: Hospital-based. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: In-depth interviews with 15 close relatives of patients who died from non-small cell lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, using a thematic content analysis. RESULTS: All relatives reported that patients' main reason to request chemotherapy was the possibility to prolong life. Relatives reported that patients receiving chemotherapy had more difficulty to accept the incurable nature of their disease than patients who did not. They mostly followed the patients' treatment wish and only infrequently suggested ceasing chemotherapy (because of side effects) despite sometimes believing that this would be a better option. Relatives continuously tried to support the patient in either approaching the death or in attaining hope to continue life satisfactorily. Most relatives considered the chemotherapy period meaningful, since it sparked patients' hope and was what patients wanted. Cessation of chemotherapy caused a relief but coincided with physical deterioration and an increased caregivers' role; many relatives recalled this latter period as more burdensome. CONCLUSIONS: Relatives tend to follow patients' wish to continue or cease chemotherapy, without expressing their own feelings, although they were more inclined to opt cessation. They experience a greater caregiver role after cessation and their feelings of responsibility associated with the disease can be exhausting. More attention is needed to reduce relatives' distress at the end of life, also to fully profit from this crucial form of (informal) healthcare. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
This article was published in BMJ Open and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine

Relevant Expert PPTs

Relevant Speaker PPTs

Recommended Conferences

Peer Reviewed Journals
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals
International Conferences 2017-18
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Annual Meetings

Contact Us

Agri, Food, Aqua and Veterinary Science Journals

Dr. Krish

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Clinical and Biochemistry Journals

Datta A

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Business & Management Journals


1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Journals

Gabriel Shaw

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Katie Wilson

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Engineering Journals

James Franklin

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

General Science and Health care Journals

Andrea Jason

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9043

Genetics and Molecular Biology Journals

Anna Melissa

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9006

Immunology & Microbiology Journals

David Gorantl

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9014

Informatics Journals

Stephanie Skinner

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Material Sciences Journals

Rachle Green

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Mathematics and Physics Journals

Jim Willison

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

Medical Journals

Nimmi Anna

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9038

Neuroscience & Psychology Journals

Nathan T

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9041

Pharmaceutical Sciences Journals

John Behannon

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9007

Social & Political Science Journals

Steve Harry

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

© 2008-2017 OMICS International - Open Access Publisher. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version