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This study aims to explore seriously ill patients’ experiences during goals-of-care discussions and perspectives of end-of-life (EOL) decision-making in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan.
This is a qualitative descriptive study with semi-structured, one-on-one interviews. Settings were 2 large hospitals in Jordan. Patients were a purposeful sample of 14 Arabic-speaking adults who were seriously ill and hospitalized with palliative care needs.
Conventional content analysis identified 4 main themes: perceived suffering during serious illness, attitudes toward discussing EOL decision-making, goals of care and preferences for EOL, and actions to enhance EOL decision-making. Disease and treatment burdens and concerns about life, family, and death were sources of suffering during serious illness. What matters most to patients at EOL were alleviating suffering and getting support from family, friends, and care providers. Although patients expressed reluctance and inaction toward EOL decision-making due to uncertainties, lacking awareness, and assumptions of fear, their potential goals of care were to live longer, be with their families, and die with dignity.
Significance of results
Jordanians and culturally similar Arabs could benefit from goals-of-care discussions. The proper, culturally sensitive implementation of goals-of-care discussions in Arab populations with similar cultural norms requires raising public awareness and clarifying the legitimacy of goals-of-care discussions, preparing patients and their families for the discussions, and considering individual variations in handling the discussions.
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