Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Nursing

Major Professor

Susan C. McMillan, PhD, ARNP.

Keywords

Pain, Nursing care, End-of-life care, Suffering, Spiritual well-being

Abstract

Hope is considered to have a positive influence upon health. Cancer patients may enter hospice care after a rigorous course of medical treatment, having hoped for a cure or long remission. While the hope for cure is important, hope is no less important at the end of life when the goal of care is quality of life. This study examined the relationship between hope and quality of life in hospice patients with cancer. Thirty-one patients with cancer, who were alert, oriented, living with a caregiver, and aware of their diagnosis were sampled from a hospice program. The instruments used were the Herth Hope Index (HHI) and the Hospice Quality of Life Index (HQLI). The HHI total scores and the HQLI total scores were significantly positively correlated (r = .356; p = .049). This finding suggests that hope is a different concept than quality of life but that these concepts are related. A high level of hope (mean of 42.84 out of a possible 48) was maintained by subjects.

The HQLI subscale of social/spiritual well-being and the total HHI scores were also positively correlated (r = .51; p = .003) suggesting that hope can be influenced by this aspect of quality of life which includes a relationship with God, support from family, friends and healthcare providers, and spiritual support from the healthcare team. The findings of this study underscore the importance of the healthcare provider in promoting hope at the end of life, and suggests that hope is not taken away by admission into a hospice program.

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