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end-of-life care, end-of-life patients, nursing accompaniment, relief of suffering, suffering



  1. Martins, Clara MSN, RN
  2. Basto, Marta Lima PhD, RN


The main objective of this study was to understand the nursing intervention process used in relieving the suffering of end-of-life inpatients. A qualitative study was developed, using the Grounded Theory method, and a triangulation of the data was obtained via several techniques: participant observation, formal and informal interviews, analysis of nursing records, transcription of a change-of-shift report, and field notes. A sample size of 19 nurses, 9 hospitalized patients, and 19 relatives participated in this research. The findings demonstrate that nursing interventions for the relief of the end-of-life patient's suffering is developed through a process of nursing accompaniment that is interactional, dynamic, integral, and systematic. During this process, nurses help patients to live the last days of their lives by giving them physical comfort, helping the patients to accept the reality of their situation, supporting them emotionally, harmonizing the environment, and facilitating the presence of friends and family. Nurses also help them to die, by satisfying their final wishes and their spiritual needs, comforting them, and motivating their relatives to be present and to comfort the patient. When confronted with the suffering and death of the patient, the nurse becomes aware of his/her own finitude and feels helpless in the face of death. However, by establishing a deep relationship with each patient who suffers and dies, the nurse learns, grows, and matures, becoming more capable of dealing with suffering and death.