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Keywords

end of life, quality of life, spirituality

 

Authors

  1. Dose, Ann Marie PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN
  2. Leonard, Barbara PhD, RN, FAAN
  3. McAlpine, Cynthia Peden PhD, RN, ACNS-BC
  4. Kreitzer, Mary Jo PhD, RN, FAAN

Abstract

Spirituality has been described as one of the most important components of end-of-life care, yet there is limited research on the description of spirituality from those experiencing it at end of life. The aims of this study were to describe and interpret the lived experience of spirituality at the end of life among adults receiving hospice care and describe and interpret how these individuals' remembered experiences of spirituality across the life span shape the meaning and experience of spirituality at the end of life. In this qualitative, phenomenological study, participants completed lifelines of their spiritual journeys throughout their lifetimes at study entry. One to 2 days later, they participated in a taped, unstructured interview, where they discussed their spirituality lifelines and described their current experiences of spirituality. Additional interviews were requested from participants. Eleven Midwest hospice patients participated. The lived experience of spirituality at the end of life was described within the context of spirituality lived throughout one's life, as particularly manifested through themes of Connectedness, Spiritual Life Moments, Pick Up the Pieces and Move On, and Religion "Matters." Spirituality remains a highly individualized concept and needs individualized assessment and interventions at end of life.