open access

Vol 10, No 2 (2016)
Review paper
Published online: 2016-11-29
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The issues of the meaning of life at its end

Natalia Czyżowska
Medycyna Paliatywna w Praktyce 2016;10(2):54-58.

open access

Vol 10, No 2 (2016)
Review articles
Published online: 2016-11-29

Abstract

Man assigns a different meaning to events that take place in his life. The meaning of life is defined in many ways but it should be noted that it is individual and private matter for each person. Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote that “find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man”. The results of many studies showed that there is a positive relationship between meaning of life and quality of life. The issues of meaning of life seems to be particularly important in the context of palliative care, which aims to improve the quality of patients’ life.

The feeling of helplessness, anxiety and existential distress in terminally ill patients presents challenges for palliative care providers. The results of Polish studies showed that in case of oncology patients there is a negative correlation between length of being ill and meaning of life. In recent years, experts suggested an introduction of a new clinical diagnosis in palliative care — demoralization syndrome (the state which contains: meaninglessness, purposelessness; hopelessness and helplessness). David Kissane and his co-workers from Monash University proposed a set of diagnostic criteria for diagnosing this syndrome. It can help better recognizing and differentiating palliative care patients’ problems and also designing more adequate therapeutic interventions.

Abstract

Man assigns a different meaning to events that take place in his life. The meaning of life is defined in many ways but it should be noted that it is individual and private matter for each person. Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote that “find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man”. The results of many studies showed that there is a positive relationship between meaning of life and quality of life. The issues of meaning of life seems to be particularly important in the context of palliative care, which aims to improve the quality of patients’ life.

The feeling of helplessness, anxiety and existential distress in terminally ill patients presents challenges for palliative care providers. The results of Polish studies showed that in case of oncology patients there is a negative correlation between length of being ill and meaning of life. In recent years, experts suggested an introduction of a new clinical diagnosis in palliative care — demoralization syndrome (the state which contains: meaninglessness, purposelessness; hopelessness and helplessness). David Kissane and his co-workers from Monash University proposed a set of diagnostic criteria for diagnosing this syndrome. It can help better recognizing and differentiating palliative care patients’ problems and also designing more adequate therapeutic interventions.

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Keywords

meaning of life, demoralization, quality of life, depression

About this article
Title

The issues of the meaning of life at its end

Journal

Palliative Medicine in Practice

Issue

Vol 10, No 2 (2016)

Article type

Review paper

Pages

54-58

Published online

2016-11-29

Bibliographic record

Medycyna Paliatywna w Praktyce 2016;10(2):54-58.

Keywords

meaning of life
demoralization
quality of life
depression

Authors

Natalia Czyżowska

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