Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Stephanie M. Schim


The purpose of this research study was to examine the meaning of hope at the end of life among Veterans. As people enter the terminal phase of life hope becomes especially important. Recent research has been conducted examining hope among various cultural groups and their experiences of the phenomenon. These studies showed that although hope is a universal phenomenon, different cultural groups ascribe different meanings to it. These cultural variations are important for nurses to consider when caring for patients.

Research conducted among Veterans has shown that as a cultural group, Veterans have different experiences and needs throughout their lives than do their non-veteran peers. Yet little is known about their lived experiences at the end of life. While a small amount of research has been conducted with this cultural group at the end of life, no studies could be found in which Veterans were able to express perceptions of hope at the final stage of life.

This study used a phenomenological research design to examine hope at the end of life among Veterans. The researcher interviewed 7 Veterans receiving hospice care through a home health hospice agency. The researcher used Giorgi's procedural modification for descriptive phenomenology to analyze the data.

The findings from this study showed three major themes. They were the 1) Nature of Veterans' Hopes, 2) Targets of Veterans' Hopes and 3) Shared Values of the Veterans.

All of these findings suggest that while many of the ways Veterans experience hope at the end of life is typical of persons with terminal illness, there are some themes unique to this cultural group. The findings from these studies could be helpful to nurses caring for Veterans at the end of life.