The use of life review to enhance spiritual well-being in patients with terminal illnesses: an integrative review
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To conduct an integrative review of the current literature on using life review as an intervention to address the spiritual need of patients with terminal illnesses. BACKGROUND: Palliative care highlights the holistic approach of care including the spiritual aspect. Life review has been used in palliative nursing intending to enhance patients’ emotional and spiritual well-being, and quality of life. However, there is a lack of publications that provide a structured overview on life review programmes and their effectiveness. DESIGN: Integrative review. METHODS: The Whittemore and Knafl integrative review method was used. Five major online databases were included in our literature search. The keywords used were “life review” and “palliative care, terminal care, terminally ill, death & dying, hospice, spiritual wellbeing, spirituality”. Seven primary papers were identified, critically appraised and synthesised in the final review. RESULTS: There are limited clinical studies on life review programmes for patients with terminal illness. The research design of these studies is too widely varied for meta-analysis. Here, we identified two major programmes of life review as an intervention to address the spiritual well-being of patients with terminal illness. However, repeated studies on the effectiveness of these two programmes are lacking. The shorter programme of life review is more likely to be applicable and effective for terminal patients. CONCLUSIONS: Further research in this area is required to provide strong evidence on the effectiveness and applicability of life review in patients receiving palliative care. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL NURSING: This review adds weight to the need of a better understanding on the use of life review in addressing the spiritual needs of patients with terminal illness. Such understanding would provide evidence for the use of life review as an alternative approach in palliative care delivery.
Note: this article featured in the ACPE Research Network December 2017 Article of the Month.