Existential loneliness and end-of-life care: A systematic review

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (2):141-169 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Patients with a life-threatening illness can be confronted with various types of loneliness, one of which is existential loneliness (EL). Since the experience of EL is extremely disruptive, the issue of EL is relevant for the practice of end-of-life care. Still, the literature on EL has generated little discussion and empirical substantiation and has never been systematically reviewed. In order to systematically review the literature, we (1) identified the existential loneliness literature; (2) established an organising framework for the review; (3) conducted a conceptual analysis of existential loneliness; and (4) discussed its relevance for end-of-life care. We found that the EL concept is profoundly unclear. Distinguishing between three dimensions of EL—as a condition, as an experience, and as a process of inner growth—leads to some conceptual clarification. Analysis of these dimensions on the basis of their respective key notions—everpresent, feeling, defence; death, awareness, difficult communication; and inner growth, giving meaning, authenticity—further clarifies the concept. Although none of the key notions are unambiguous, they may function as a starting point for the development of care strategies on EL at the end of life.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,069

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Language and Loneliness: Arendt, Cavell, and Modernity.Martin Shuster - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (4):473-497.
Beyond the drive to satisfy needs: in the context of health care. [REVIEW]Charlotte Delmar - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):141-149.
An Anatomy of Illness.David Biro - 2012 - Journal of Medical Humanities 33 (1):41-54.
The role of well‐being.Joseph Raz - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):269–294.
The Trouble with the Notion of Loneliness.Tadeusz Kobierzycki & Filip Maj - 2009 - Dialogue and Universalism 19 (8-9):93-107.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-05-07

Downloads
61 (#241,962)

6 months
2 (#725,330)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?