Volume 28, Issue 2 ,2007

Codman Award 2006: The experience of hope in ALS patients
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By Antonietta Vitale and Angela Genge


Abstract

In this study, the concept of hope in patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was explored. The researchers asked, “What does hope mean to you?” The final sample consisted of 13 patients at varying stages of illness and at differing times since diagnosis. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were used to elicit views on hope, its sources and evolution. The findings were similar to a study done by Herth (1990) in which two themes emerged: hope fostering strategies and hope hindering barriers. The study process allowed the researchers to capture the participants’ sources of hope. An unexpected finding was that participants described taking part in the interviews as “therapeutic.” The findings support the notion that clinicians need to engage patients in discussions of hope, particularly the question of hope and its meaning, in order to adequately address their most important concerns and understand their point of view. Implications and suggestions for nursing practice include taking the time to explore hope-fostering approaches and discuss hope-hindering obstacles and our role in creating a hopeful environment.



Quality of life: Gamma Knife surgery and whole brain radiation therapy
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By Janice Nesbitt


Abstract

Cerebral metastasis of cancers originating outside the brain has traditionally been treated with whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT). Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (GKS) provides safe and effective alternative treatment that is less invasive and has fewer side effects. Both WBRT and GKS are reviewed and discussed in terms of quality of life and health outcomes. The case studies of two individuals who underwent Gamma Knife surgery are presented.



Case study: Closure of a patent foramen ovale without surgery following stroke
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By Diane Duff


Chris Williams*, a 52-year-old father of three, woke one morning and discovered that he had a significant right facial droop, weakness in his right arm, and some difficultly with speech and swallowing. An active man, who enjoyed coaching soccer and participating in outdoor activities, Chris was shocked to learn that he had experienced a stroke. Initially, his symptoms intensified during the next three days and then gradually resolved over the next six months until he was left with just mild speech slurring and a tendency to aspirate fluids when he was tired or had been drinking even small amounts of alcoholic beverages.

*pseudonym