Existential Needs among the Dying

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPosterResearchpeer-review


International research suggests that life-threatening diseases lead to intensification of existential considerations and that such intensification increases with the likelihood of death. Furthermore, this research suggests that existential support can help cancer patients and their families, as they cope with encroaching death and hereby improve the quality of life in the palliative phase.
However, several studies emphasize that existential needs of dying patients and their families not are being met adequately in the healthcare system.

The aim of this research project is to provide research based and practice relevant knowledge about the complexity of existential considerations and needs among dying cancer patients and their relatives in a secularized society as Denmark.

Existential needs are seen as a multidimensional concept that encompasses religious, spiritual and secular existential meaning making.

The key research question is:

1. What kind of existential needs are central to dying cancer patients and their relatives during the terminal phase in Danish hospices?

Exploring this highly sensitive and complex research area entails substantial ethical responsibility during data collection and analyze. It is crucial to make individual considerations according to both the informants' physical abilities as their psychological vulnerability.
Qualitative research is therefore chosen as most appropriate. The empirical data has been generated through two qualitative investigations: Participant observation in three Danish hospices and semi structured interviews with terminal cancer patients and family members.

The data generation was completed in December 2011 and the analysis is proceeding. At the time of the conference there will be preliminary results to present.

This research will provide important information about the complexity of the existential needs among dying cancer patients and their families in a secularized society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event19th International Congress on Palliative Care - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 9 Oct 201212 Oct 2012


Conference19th International Congress on Palliative Care

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