The pain experience of elderly hospice patients with cancer

Wendy Diane Duggleby, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose/objectives. A grounded theory design was used to identify, describe, and generate a theoretical analysis of the pain experience of elderly hospice patients with cancer. Sample. Eleven participants over the age of 65, receiving services from a for-profit hospice were interviewed in their homes. Methods. Broad unstructured face to face audio-taped interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using constant-comparative method of analysis. Findings. Pain was described as a hierarchy of chronic, acute, and psychological pain with psychological pain as the worst. Suffering was the basic social problem of pain. Participants dealt with suffering by the basic social process of enduring. Enduring had two sub-processes, maintaining hope and adjusting. Trusting in a higher being and finding meaning were mechanisms of maintaining hope. Mechanisms of adjusting were dealing with uncertainty, accepting, and minimizing pain. Implications for nursing practice. Nurses need to recognize and value the hard work of enduring to deal with suffering. Assisting elderly hospice patients with cancer to address the sub-processes of enduring and their mechanisms can foster enduring.

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Recommended Citation

Duggleby, Wendy Diane, "The pain experience of elderly hospice patients with cancer" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9940682.