From hope to hope: The experience of older Chinese people with advanced cancer

Chen, Hong; Komaromy, Carol and Valentine, Christine (2015). From hope to hope: The experience of older Chinese people with advanced cancer. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 19(2) pp. 154–171.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459314555238

Abstract

In our study that explored the current end-of-life care provision for Chinese older people with advanced/terminal cancer, hope emerged as a significant aspect of coping with their condition. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews with a group of older people, their family carers and health professionals, this article explores participants’ constructions of hope in terms of what they were hoping for, how their hopes helped them cope with their illness and what sociocultural resources they drew on to build and sustain these hopes. While acknowledging similarities to Western studies of hope in terminal illness, this article identifies significant divergences in terms of the impact of different sociocultural values and their implications for clinical practice in light of an unfavourable health care environment for patients with advanced cancer and a social support system sustained mainly by Chinese families. It argues that hope represents an important resource for coping with terminal illness among these patients.

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