Confronting death: Perceptions of a good death in adults with lung cancer

Travonia Hughes, Mitzi Schumacher, Joy M. Jacobs-Lawson, Susanne Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Investigations regarding patients' concerns about death have focused on the importance of autonomy, resolution of concerns, family relationships, and religiosity, and relied on data from physicians, nurses, family members, and healthy older adults. Few studies have focused on patients with diseases that have short-term survival rates. This study examined lung cancer patients' perceptions of a good death. One hundred lung cancer patients answered open-ended questions about what a good death was and completed measures assessing coping, spirituality, religious coping, and life satisfaction. Content analysis revealed 4 themes describing a good death: (a) during sleep, (b) pain-free, (c) peaceful, and (d) quick. These findings have implications for those caring for terminally ill patients as the 4 themes differ from those derived from studies of more heterogeneous patients, their families, and health care providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Adjustment to death
  • Last wishes
  • Patient death preferences
  • Patient perceptions of death
  • Terminal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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