Asian Oncol Nurs.  2019 Sep;19(3):142-149. 10.5388/aon.2019.19.3.142.

The Relationship among Attitudes toward the Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Treatment, Death Anxiety, and Death Acceptance among Hospitalized Elderly Cancer Patients

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Nursing, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2College of Nursing, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea. ssj1119@ewha.ac.kr

Abstract

PURPOSE
The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between attitudes toward the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, death anxiety and death acceptance among hospitalized cancer patients who were at least 65 years old.
METHODS
This study adopted a descriptive study design. Data were collected from 128 patients diagnosed with cancer. The instruments used were the Attitudes toward Life-sustaining Treatment Scale, Death Anxiety Scale and modified versions of the Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R) questionnaire.
RESULTS
The mean score for the subjects' attitudes toward the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment was 3.48±0.50 out of 5. Death anxiety was reported at 2.53±0.54 out of 4. Death acceptance was reported at 4.10±1.20 out of 7. There was a significant negative correlation between the subjects' attitudes toward the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and death anxiety (r=−.21, p=.018), however there was no statistically significant correlation between the subjects' attitude towards the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and death acceptance (r=−.07, p=.462)
CONCLUSION
The more positive elderly cancer patients are about the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, the lower their death anxiety is. This finding can help nurses with patient care towards the end of life by considering the relationship between death anxiety and their attitudes toward the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

Keyword

Aged; Cancer; Advanced care planning; Attitude to death; Anxiety
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