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Hope in Palliative Care

This week at Erasmus MC guest lecturer Dr. Gabriel Goldraij from Argentina spoke about Hope in Palliative Care. He references an article by a Canadian team titled “Ultimate journey of the terminally ill: Ways and pathways of hope". Here they found seven attributes of hope.

1. Hope is an irrational phenomenon

2. Initial hope for miraculous healing

3. Hope changes over time, evolving in different ways depending on circumstances

4. Hope for prolonged life when there is no further hope for cure

5. Hope for a good quality of life when the possibility of prolonging life becomes limited

6. Lack of hope for some when treatments are no longer effective in curbing illness progression

7. Hope as enjoying the present moment and preparing for the end of life.


This paper recognizes that patients will go between acceptance and despair in a complex emotional journey outlines visually below.


Gabriel spoke about how this can be a difficult task to manage for doctors and they may have contradictory feelings about it. Nonetheless, hope is an important outcome in palliative care.


Daneault S, Lussier V, Mongeau S, Yelle L, Côté A, Sicotte C, Paillé P, Dion D, Coulombe M. Ultimate journey of the terminally ill: Ways and pathways of hope. Can Fam Physician. 2016 Aug;62(8):648-56. PMID: 27521394; PMCID: PMC4982727.

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