Effect of a life review program for Chinese patients with advanced cancer: a randomized controlled trial

Cancer Nurs. Jul-Aug 2013;36(4):274-83. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e318268f7ba.


Background: Empirical data suggest that life review is an effective psychospiritual intervention. However, it has not been applied to Chinese patients with advanced cancer, and its effects on this population remain unknown.

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the effect of a life review program on quality of life among Chinese patients with advanced cancer.

Methods: In this prospective randomized controlled trial, a total of 80 patients were randomly assigned to the life review program group and the control group. The 3-weekly life review program included reviewing a life and formulating a life review booklet. Outcome data were assessed by a collector who was blinded to group assignment before and immediately after the program and at a 3-week follow-up.

Results: Significantly better scores in overall quality of life, support, negative emotions, sense of alienation, existential distress, and value of life were found in the life review group immediately after the program and at the 3-week follow-up.

Conclusion: This study provides additional data on the potential role of a life review in improving quality of life, particularly psychospiritual well being; it also indicates that the life review program could enable Chinese patients with advanced cancer to express their views on life and death.

Implications for practice: The life review program offers advanced cancer patients an opportunity to integrate their whole life experiences and discuss end-of-life issues, which lays the ground for further active intervention in their psychospiritual distress. The program could be integrated into daily home care to enhance the psychospiritual well-being of Chinese patients with advanced cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Value of Life