Get access

A focus for nursing intervention: Realistic acceptance or helping illusions?


José K Côté, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville Montréal (Québec), Canada. Email:


Despite having a life-threatening disease, some people decide to live every remaining moment with intensity. Although they have accepted that their deaths might be imminent, they do not dwell on the possibility. They choose life and are sustained by vivid thoughts and inspirations. What can a nurse do to nourish such thoughts? Traditional theories of grief and loss maintain that one way to adjust to advanced stages of progressive disease is to accept death and prepare for it. Is it possible that these theories are simplistic and limiting in their assumptions about the way people ‘work through’ the stage of adjusting to loss? This article is a critical reflection of the process.

Get access to the full text of this article