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The concept and relevance of existential issues in healthcare encounters
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work. CKF, Centrum för Klinisk Forskning.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2853-0575
2014 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Rationale: Existential issues are relevant, not only in healthcare research, but also in healthcare practice as patients express needs relating to emotional and/or existential aspects of the new and often unexpected life situation they find themselves in. In critical situations, such as being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, where a previously envisioned future and one’s basic security come under threat, existential issues often arise. Therefore, as a threat to existence, medical problems also become existential problems involving suffering and issues of life and death. Healthcare professionals need to be prepared for this. Thus, there is a need for clarification of what existential issues might.

Aim: To illuminate and clarify the concept of existential issues in relation to nursing research and nursing practice.

Method: Literature was searched in philosophical literature, PubMed, Cinahl and Psycinfo.

Results: The concept of existential has its origin in philosophy and is common for all humans regardless of culture or religion. Existential issues often concern meaning, death, existential isolation and freedom. Although healthcare professionals are often aware of what existential issues may be, they feel unsure to communicate with patients and their loved ones about existential issues.

Conclusion: Although acting in the professional capacity, the healthcare encounter is still primarily a human encounter where existential issues must be acknowledged and handled in order to support the patient to find meaning and thus relieve suffering. Further education with reflective discussions for healthcare professionals on challenging and difficult caring situations is important to support a deeper understanding of existential issues and to facilitate integration between phronesis-based and episteme-based knowledge. This in turn seems to enable communication about existential issues in caring situations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
Existential issues, communication
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Hälsa och välfärd
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-16466OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-16466DiVA: diva2:766363
Conference
Spiritual care in palliative care: Recent European research and future developments, The Cicely Saunders Institute, London, 24 November 2014
Available from: 2014-11-26 Created: 2014-11-26 Last updated: 2015-10-26Bibliographically approved

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http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/cicelysaunders/attachments/Final-Conference-Programme---Spiritual-care-in-palliative-care.pdfhttp://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/cicelysaunders/newsevents/eventrecords/Spiritual-care-in-palliative-care-recent-European-research-and-future-developments.aspx

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
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