Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Nursing Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences


In Western Australia, in-patient hospice/palliative care units are caring for increasing numbers of terminally ill cancer patients. Hospice philosophy is based on the belief that the terminally ill patient in individual needs are of paramount importance. The needs of advanced cancer patients have been researched in the home, for patients continuing or having completed curative treatment, and for patients receiving palliative care. However, there is a lack of literature about the needs of terminally ill cancer patients in in-patient hospices. Using a descriptive approach, this study investigated the needs of six terminally ill cancer patients in a 26 bed in-patient hospice unit. Semi-structured interviews based on Henderson's (1964) 14 fundamental needs were used to elicit information about these patients needs’. Data was analysed using thematic analysis to determine common categories of need. Findings suggest that terminally ill cancer patients in an in-patient hospice unit have seven common need categories. These are physiological, psychological, sociological, spiritual, informational, financial and environmental categories of need. Three overriding needs are described as the need to feel safe, to maintain family contact and to reduce the impact of visitors. Implications of the findings for nurses are discussed.

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