Aims and objectives. This study explores the spiritual needs of patients with advanced cancer during their therapeutic process in Taiwan and analyses the influence of Chinese culture in addressing their spiritual needs.
Background. Many nurse clinicians have concerns about the difficulties of providing spiritual care for ethnic-Chinese cancer clients within their cultural context, possibly as a result of lack of knowledge and training. There has been little research exploring the potential impact of Chinese cultural values on the spiritual needs of patients with advanced cancer.
Design. Explorative qualitative enquiry was used.
Methods. Data were collected through participant observation and in-depth face-to-face interviews. Transcribed interview data were analysed by using qualitative content analysis. The purposive sample (n = 33) was drawn from a leading medical center (n = 19) with 3000 beds in the capital and a community-based rural teaching hospital (n = 14) with 581 beds in Taiwan.
Results. Four spiritual needs emerged from the analysis: the need to foster hope for survival and obtain a peaceful mindset, to fulfil the meanings of life and preserve one’s dignity, to experience more reciprocal human love and finally, to receive assistance in facing death peacefully.
Conclusion. This research has shown that patients with advanced cancer need caregivers, friends and the help of their religion to meet their spiritual needs during the therapeutic processes.
Relevance to clinical practice. The findings of this study could assist health professionals to detect the unmet spiritual needs of ethnic-Chinese patients with cancer in the context of their cultural or religious background as early as possible.