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This study aimed to explore perceptions of the meaning of life among Korean patients living with advanced cancer.
The study employed a mixed-methods design, and 16 participants were included in the analysis. Qualitative data gathered from in-depth interviews were analyzed using Colaizzi's phenomenological method. Quantitative survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, the Mann–Whitney U test, the Kruskal–Wallis test, and Spearman's ρ correlation.
Participants experienced both the existence of meaning and the will to find meaning in terms of four categories: “interpersonal relationships based on attachment and cohesion” (three themes — family as the core meaning of one's life, supportive and dependent interconnectedness with significant others, and existential responsibility embedded in familism), “therapeutic relationships based on trust” (one theme — communication and trust between the patient and medical staff), “optimism” (two themes — positivity embodied through past experiences and a positive attitude toward the current situation), and “a sense of purpose with advanced cancer” (two themes — the will to survive and expectations for the near future). The meaning in life questionnaire (MLQ) and the purpose in life scale (PIL) showed a significant positive correlation tendency with the functional assessment of chronic illness therapy-spiritual well-being scale (FACIT-Sp). The patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) showed significant negative correlation tendency with both the MLQ-presence of meaning (MLQ-PM) and PIL-Initiative (PIL-I) questionnaires.
Significance of results
Finding meaning in life helps advanced cancer patients realize their will to live. It also acts as a coping mechanism that palliates negative experiences in the fight against the disease. In particular, among advanced cancer patients in the Korean culture, the dynamics of relationships with family and medical staff was a key axis that instilled optimism and will to live. These results suggest that considering the meaning of life in advanced cancer patients by reflecting Korean culture in the treatment process improves the quality of care.
To control an outbreak of Shewanella algae and S. putrefaciens infections by identifying the risk factors for infection and transmission.
Matched case-control study.
A university-affiliated tertiary acute care hospital in Seoul, Republic of Korea, with approximately 1,600 beds.
From June 20, 2003, to January 16, 2004, a total of 31 case patients with Shewanella colonization or infection and 62 control patients were enrolled in the study.
Requirement to use single-use measuring cups and standard precautions (including hand washing before and after patient care and use of gloves).
S. algae or S. putrefaciens was isolated from blood, for 9 (29.0%) of 31 patients who acquired one of the organisms; from bile, for 8 (25.8%), and from ascitic fluid, for 8 (25.8%). The attack rate of this outbreak was 5.8% (31 patients infected or colonized, of 534 potentially exposed on ward A) and the pathogenicity of the two species together was 77.4% (24 patients infected, of 31 who acquired the pathogens). The estimated incubation period for Shewanella acquisition was 3–49 days. Using logistic analysis, we identified the following risk factors: presence of external drainage catheters in the hepatobiliary system (odds ratio [OR], 20; P < .001), presence of hepatobiliary disease (OR, 6.4; P < .001), admission to the emergency department of the hospital (OR, 2.9; P = .039), wound classification of “contaminated” or “dirty or infected” (OR, 16.5; P = .012), an American Society of Anesthesiologists score of 3 or higher (OR, 8.0; P = .006), duration of stay in ward A (OR, 1.1; P < .001), and, for women, an age of 60–69 years (OR, 13.3; P = .028). A Shewanella isolate was recovered from the surface of a shared measuring cup, and 12 isolates of S. algae showed the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern.
This Shewanella outbreak had a single-source origin and spread by contact transmission via a contaminated measuring cup. Shewanella species are emerging as potentially serious human pathogens in hospitals and could be included in hospital infection surveillance systems.
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