The role of palliative care in supporting patients: a therapeutic community space

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2008 Mar;14(3):117-25. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2008.14.3.28891.


The work of palliative day care extends the philosophy and practice of palliative care to patients in the community. It supports the needs of patients who have a diminished ability to fulfil their family and societal roles. The extent to which these aims reflect current practice, however, has not been fully assessed, particularly in Australia. There is also a lack of research on patients' experiences of palliative day care. The key aim of this study was, therefore, to explore patients' experiences of palliative day care in a Western Australian context. Eight patients (two males and six females) with ages ranging from 44 to 82 years were interviewed. Four broad themes emerged from the data, related to patients' experiences: being bounded physically; temporally; and socially; and the role of palliative day care in supporting patients. This study highlighted the potential for palliative day care to provide a therapeutic community space. Implications of these findings for palliative day care are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Day Care, Medical* / organization & administration
  • Day Care, Medical* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Palliative Care* / organization & administration
  • Palliative Care* / psychology
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Philosophy, Medical
  • Qualitative Research
  • Role
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Therapeutic Community
  • Western Australia