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Meaningfulness in palliative home care: An interview study of dying cancer patients' next of kin


Objective: An increasing number of patients are cared for at home and the presence of next of kin is often a prerequisite for successful home care. The aim of this study was to describe and interpret the construct of meaningfulness in next of kin of cancer patients who are in advanced palliative home care.

Methods: The perspective of Antonovsky's salutogenic framework of sense of coherence was applied in the analysis. Using a hermeneutic approach, 19 next of kin were interviewed (n = 30 interviews) during ongoing palliative home care.

Results: Elements that facilitated meaningfulness included comfort, retaining everyday life, action, commitment, and hope, which were of great importance for creating a perception of self-transcendence and that the best possible was done.

Significance of results: The findings are discussed in relation to the concepts of meaning-based coping, tragic optimism, and existentialism. Clinical implications are suggested.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Anna Milberg, Division of Geriatrics, Building 011, University Hospital, 581 85 Linköping, Sweden. E-mail:
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Palliative & Supportive Care
  • ISSN: 1478-9515
  • EISSN: 1478-9523
  • URL: /core/journals/palliative-and-supportive-care
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