Moving Toward Peace: An Analysis of the Concept of a Good Death

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. Aug-Sep 2006;23(4):277-86. doi: 10.1177/1049909106290380.


One of the primary outcomes of end-of-life care should be the experience of a good death by the patient and the family. Yet there is no clear, shared understanding of what a good death is. This analysis of the concept of a good death has been guided by Rodgers' evolutionary method of concept analysis.(1) Forty-two articles were analyzed. There was the strong agreement that the concept of a good death was highly individual, changeable over time, and based on perspective and experience. Medical, nursing, and patient perspectives, as well as literature in sociology, include the following attributes of a good death, listed in order of frequency of appearance in the literature: being in control, being comfortable, sense of closure, affirmation/value of the dying person recognized, trust in care providers, recognition of impending death, beliefs and values honored, burden minimized, relationships optimized, appropriateness of death, leaving a legacy, and family care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Death*
  • Family Relations
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospice Care / methods
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical*
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Right to Die*
  • Terminally Ill*
  • United States