Aims: to clarify the concept of hope as perceived by patients with a terminal illness, to develop hope as an evidence-based nursing concept, to contribute new knowledge and insights about hope to the relatively new field of palliative care; endeavouring to maximize the quality of life of terminally ill patients in the future.
Method: utilizing Rodgers' (2000a) evolutionary concept analysis methodology and thematic content analysis, 17 pieces of research-based literature on hope as perceived by adult patients with any terminal illness pathology, from the disciplines of nursing and medicine have been reviewed and analyzed. An exemplary case of the concept in action is presented along with the evolution of the concept hope in terminal illness.
Results: Ten essential attributes of the concept were identified: positive expectation; personal qualities; spirituality; goals; comfort; help/caring; interpersonal relationships; control; legacy; and life review. Patients' hopes and goals are scaled down and refocused in order to live in the present and enjoy the time they have left with loved ones.
Conclusion: By completing all the steps to Rodgers' (2000a) evolutionary view of concept analysis, a working definition and clarification of the concept in its current use has been achieved. This provides a solid conceptual foundation for further study.