Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Mary Alice Hodge

Abstract

Constipation is a prevalent symptom in the hospice population, negatively effecting quality of life for patients. Constipation is frequently overlooked, undiagnosed, and untreated by healthcare providers. The role of the hospice nurse is ideal for managing the symptom of constipation with traditional and alternative therapies. Literature review reveals very limited research on constipation and hospice patients, and alternative therapies for constipation. No research was found regarding nurse attitudes towards alternative therapies, such as abdominal massage for constipation. This research study tested the following hypothesis: Hospice nurses perceive constipation as significantly impacting the quality of life for the hospice patient, and hospice nurses have a positive attitude towards abdominal massage as an alternative intervention for constipation. A descriptive survey, guided by the theoretical framework of Jean Watson's philosophy of science and caring, was conducted using a convenience sample of hospice nurses. The results indicated that hospice nurses do perceive constipation as significantly impacting quality of life; and, hospice nurses have an open attitude towards abdominal massage. It is concluded that hospice nurses would benefit from education regarding abdominal massage as an alternative intervention for constipation. The implications of this study have the potential to impact nursing practice and the quality of life for hospice patients and their families.

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