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attitude toward death, experience, heart failure, palliative care, suffering



  1. Higashitsuji, Asahiko MSN, PHN, RN
  2. Matsudo, Madoka MSN, PHN, RN
  3. Majima, Tomoko PhD, PHN, RN


Early palliative care is needed for patients with heart failure (HF). However, little is known about the suffering and attitudes toward death of these patients before they reach end-stage HF. This study aimed to identify the suffering and attitudes toward death of patients with early- and intermediate-stage HF. Our qualitative research process was guided with a grounded theory approach and consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research. Participants were selected through theoretical sampling. Data were collected through semistructured interviews, participant observations, and medical records examination. The study included 10 patients. Analysis of the data revealed the core category of "evaluating whether HF hinders the current and future self." From this core category, 6 categories of causal conditions and 3 categories of consequences emerged. Participants with HF evaluated the causal conditions and suffering in the context of how they hindered the ideal state. After recognizing their own suffering, they expressed specific attitudes toward death. The 10 categories revealed in this study elucidate the process by which patients with HF form their attitudes toward death based on suffering. Health care professionals should consider these findings to help facilitate early palliative care interventions.