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Jeanne BurdetteFollow

Start Date

18-8-2017 10:00 AM

End Date

18-8-2017 11:30 AM

Description

The Meaning of Will to Live in Patients: An Integrative literature review

Jeanne Burdette

DePaul University

Abstract

Background: The will to live (WTL) is the desire, determination and effort to survive as defined by Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition (2009). According to Tataryn & Chochinov (2002), we know that the WTL can impact the trajectory of a terminal illness and “has been shown to vary considerably in relatively brief periods of time during the final course of a terminal illness” (p 370). Yet little is known about the concept. Health care professionals (HCPs) can benefit from increased knowledge about WTL, and factors that can enhance it, to provide optimal care to persons who are dying. The influence HCPs can have on patient’s existential issues, such as hopelessness, burden to others and dignity, are important to learn about as they are considered to be strongly correlated to components of a person’s WTL (Chochinov et al 2005).

Objective: To identify (conceptual views and definitions) of WTL and factors associated with it in order to provide information to give HCPs more understanding about the subjective world of elders, terminally ill patients, and other patients receiving care.

Method: This study is an integrative review of the literature using Whittemore and Knafl's (2005) updated methodology. A computerized search of the literature was conducted using CINHAL and PsycInfo using key phrase will to live, in title and text.

Results: 14 studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The literature defining the components of WTL were found in the disciplines of Healthcare/Nursing and Psychology which also included the sub-disciplines of survival psychology and existential psychology. Hope, dignity, social support, purpose, quality of life are the main positive components that were found to form a person’s WTL. Anxiety, fear, hopelessness, are found to be the negative components. Depression and Mental illness do not determine a person’s WTL.

Conclusion: The current research literature reviewed on WTL is deficient in evidence based research. Most literature defining components of WTL focus on older adults but it was found that age does not necessarily determine a person’s WTL. Most studies acknowledged the lack of research and concluded more research needs to be done in order to solidify the phenomena and how as HCPs we can measure and recognize components of WTL in our patients. However, discussing the will to live with patients may foster a more patient-centered perspective than the current healthcare focus.

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Aug 18th, 10:00 AM Aug 18th, 11:30 AM

The Meaning of Will to Live in Patients

The Meaning of Will to Live in Patients: An Integrative literature review

Jeanne Burdette

DePaul University

Abstract

Background: The will to live (WTL) is the desire, determination and effort to survive as defined by Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition (2009). According to Tataryn & Chochinov (2002), we know that the WTL can impact the trajectory of a terminal illness and “has been shown to vary considerably in relatively brief periods of time during the final course of a terminal illness” (p 370). Yet little is known about the concept. Health care professionals (HCPs) can benefit from increased knowledge about WTL, and factors that can enhance it, to provide optimal care to persons who are dying. The influence HCPs can have on patient’s existential issues, such as hopelessness, burden to others and dignity, are important to learn about as they are considered to be strongly correlated to components of a person’s WTL (Chochinov et al 2005).

Objective: To identify (conceptual views and definitions) of WTL and factors associated with it in order to provide information to give HCPs more understanding about the subjective world of elders, terminally ill patients, and other patients receiving care.

Method: This study is an integrative review of the literature using Whittemore and Knafl's (2005) updated methodology. A computerized search of the literature was conducted using CINHAL and PsycInfo using key phrase will to live, in title and text.

Results: 14 studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The literature defining the components of WTL were found in the disciplines of Healthcare/Nursing and Psychology which also included the sub-disciplines of survival psychology and existential psychology. Hope, dignity, social support, purpose, quality of life are the main positive components that were found to form a person’s WTL. Anxiety, fear, hopelessness, are found to be the negative components. Depression and Mental illness do not determine a person’s WTL.

Conclusion: The current research literature reviewed on WTL is deficient in evidence based research. Most literature defining components of WTL focus on older adults but it was found that age does not necessarily determine a person’s WTL. Most studies acknowledged the lack of research and concluded more research needs to be done in order to solidify the phenomena and how as HCPs we can measure and recognize components of WTL in our patients. However, discussing the will to live with patients may foster a more patient-centered perspective than the current healthcare focus.