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Rise Above

Experiences of Spirituality Among Family Caregivers Caring for Their Dying Family Member in a Hospice Setting in Pakistan

Lalani, Nasreen PhD, RN; Duggleby, Wendy PhD, RN; Olson, Joanne PhD, RN, FAAN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: October 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p 422–429
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000584
Feature Articles

Family caregivers experience multiple transitions, resolutions, loss, and grief where their search for meaning becomes evident. Spirituality is an important dimension of palliative care, yet little attention has been given to this important aspect of spirituality especially among the family caregivers in a hospice setting. The study aimed to bring the hidden voices of family caregivers, their own spiritual experiences caring for their dying patients in a hospice setting, to guide and direct the care practices of health care professionals. An interpretive descriptive approach guided the study using a purposive sample of 18 family caregivers from a hospice in Karachi, Pakistan. Major themes were family love, attachment, and belongingness; honoring family values and dignity; acts of compassion and selfless service; and seeking God’s kindness and grace. Spirituality enabled family caregivers to uncover meaningful engagement and provided strength and peace while serving a dying family member in challenging caregiving situations such as adversity and limited resources. They highly valued the love, respect, and honor of the family; showed compassion; believed in God’s blessings; and experienced spiritual growth and self-transcendence. Spirituality was found to be a major resource of coping among family caregivers. Health care professionals need to integrate spirituality while developing family-centered interventions in hospice care.

Nasreen Lalani, PhD, RN, is postdoctoral fellow, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Wendy Duggleby, PhD, RN, is professor and nursing research chair, Aging and Quality of Life, and director, Innovations in Senior Care Research Unit, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Joanne Olson, PhD, RN, FAAN, is professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

The study was funded by Mu Sigma Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International, Alberta Association of Gerontology, and Aging Research Chair at the University of Alberta.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address correspondence to Nasreen Lalani, PhD, RN, University of Calgary, Enterprise Square, 3-250, 10230 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5J 4P6 (

Online date: July 17, 2019

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.