BACKGROUND: Hope is an integral part of a dying person's needs and an important phenomenon that has not been satisfactorily explored. The tension between hope for a cure and the reality of being terminally ill is a paradox, which in the context of palliative cancer care, nurses and health care professionals must take into consideration.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to elucidate the phenomenon of hope and to investigate the lived experiences of hope among newly diagnosed patients with advanced cancer.
METHOD: The study used a phenomenological-visual method where drawings and post-drawing interviews were used. The participants were six patients who recently had been offered specialised palliative care treatment. They were five women and one man with different cancer diagnoses and between 30 and 82 years of age (median 65 years). The data consisted of six drawings and individual post-drawing interviews with the participants. The study was reported using the COREQ checklist.
RESULTS: The study revealed one main concern 'Being in hope' and hope appeared in four different dimensions; internal, external, relational and transcendental. Hopelessness was present at all times.
CONCLUSION: Hope pictured in drawings was expressed through colour, shape, lines, symbols and metaphors, and hope incorporated internal, external, relational and transcendental aspects. Hope was constantly fighting against hopelessness and hope integrated with past, present and future.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Drawings, as well as other visual representations, are suitable tools when trying to understand an ineffable phenomenon such as hope experienced by people newly diagnosed with cancer.
- lived experience
- palliative care
- phenomenological hermeneutics