Perspectives of good death and dying among patients with cancer, their caregivers, and health care providers: qualitative study

  • Aura Rhea D Lanaban Southern Philippines Medical Center, Metro Davao Medical and Research Center,Brokenshire Memorial Hospital
  • Rojim J Sorrosa Southern Philippines Medical Center, Metro Davao Medical and Research Center, Brokenshire Memorial Hospital, Davao Doctors Hospital, Ricardo Limso Medical Center, San Pedro Hospital of Davao City Inc.
  • Maria Elinore Alba Concha Southern Philippines Medical Center


Background. Social backgrounds, cultural beliefs, ideologies and experiences of well-being all affect people’s perspectives on good death and dying.
Objective. To describe the perspectives of patients with cancer, caregivers and health care providers on good death and dying.
Design. Qualitative study using constant comparative method.
Setting. Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, Philippines.
Participants. 7 patients with cancer, 5 caregivers, and 8 health care professionals.
Main outcome measures. Concepts of good death and ideal dying process from interviews with study participants.
Main results. Of the 20 participants, 16 were females and 4 were males with ages ranging from 16 to 64 years old. Three interrelated themes emerged from the interviews. First, participants recognize that an omnipotent force external to the self control when and where death happens and the circumstances around death. Second, participants believe that good death happens when one is ready for it. Readiness for death entails having lived life according to one’s purpose in life, achieving emotional closure with loved ones, and having accepted that death is near. Finally, for our participants, the ideal dying process happens at home, is free of uncomfortable symptoms, and is experienced with the family and friends of the dying person.
Conclusion. Participants in this study recognize that an external force controls the time and place of and circumstances around death. For our participants, good death happens when one is emotionally ready for it, and it is important to provide physical and emotional comfort to an actively dying person.

Dec 27, 2016