caregivers, hospice care, neoplasms, patient-centered care, spirituality



  1. Kang, Kyung-Ah PhD, RN
  2. Kim, Shin-Jeong PhD, RN


This study aimed to compare perceptions of spiritual care among patients with life-threatening cancer, their primary family caregivers, and hospice/palliative care nurses.


Data were collected using both structured and unstructured approaches. Structured questionnaire data were examined using statistical analysis methods, and unstructured data were examined using content analysis to compare the 3 participant groups. The questionnaire revealed that among all 3 groups, spiritual care was commonly perceived to relate to "having the opportunity for internal reflection," "finding meaning," "encouraging hope," and "listening to and being with patients." Content analysis of the unstructured data revealed 5 themes: "Caring with sincerity," "Strengthening spiritual resources," "Alleviating physical pain and discomfort" (among patients and primary family caregivers only), "Improving spiritual care service," and "Multifaceted cooperation" (among hospice/palliative care nurses only). Our findings suggest that for patients with life-threatening illnesses such as terminal cancer, spiritual care should not be limited to religious practice but should also satisfy inner existential needs, for example, by encouraging hope, providing empathy, and helping patients find meaning in their circumstances.