The meaning of dignity when the patients' bodies are falling apart
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBruun Lorentsen VB, Nåden D, Sæteren B. The meaning of dignity when the patients' bodies are falling apart. Nursing Open. 2019:1-8 https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nop2.301
Background People with advanced cancer disease experience great bodily changes due to disease or treatment. They tend to feel ashamed when their bodies are subjected to such changes and they feel their dignity is threatened. Aim To explore the patients' experiences of the bodily changes in relation to dignity. Design The study has a hermeneutic qualitative design. Method Individual in‐depth interviews and participant observations were conducted with 13 patients with advanced cancer disease at a hospice inpatient unit in Norway. Gadamer's ontological hermeneutics inspired the interpretation. Results and conclusion The patients' unpredictable, sick bodies forced the patients, or gave them the opportunity, to relate to their bodies in an honest way. The patients, living in interaction between suffering and health, strove to find dignity. The patients had a will to live and they experienced a love in their unruly bodies that both helped alleviate their suffering and give them an experience of enhanced dignity. It is important that nurses have insight into the consequences of bodily changes for the patients' experiences of dignity in health and suffering to provide good, dignified care.