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Importance of Meaning-Making for Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Katharine E. Adelstein
Joel G. Anderson
Ann Gill Taylor
ONF 2014, 41(2), E172-E184 DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E172-E184

Purpose/Objectives: The purpose of this integrative literature review of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for hematologic malignancies was to determine whether meaning-making might be helpful to improve coping and psychological adaptation as patients navigate HSCT.

Data Sources: CINAHL®, MEDLINE®, and PsychINFO databases, and ancestry searches. Search terms included bone marrow transplant, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, hematologic malignancy, quality of life, lived experience, psychosocial, psychological, isolation, and social support.

Data Synthesis: Twenty-four research articles published from 1989-2012 were included. Five major themes emerged: (a) lived experience, (b) coping style, (c) quality of life, (d) psychological morbidity, and (e) potential for post-traumatic growth. Meaning-making was a thread that ran through each of the key areas of the HSCT experience.

Conclusions: Physical, psychosocial, and spiritual issues arise during HSCT that are unique among patients diagnosed with cancer. Meaning-making is key to adaptive coping and helps to reduce physical, psychosocial, and spiritual challenges, as well as assists patients in experiencing positive personal growth. Interventions focused on meaning-making should be tested in this population.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses are positioned to develop and deliver meaning-making interventions for patients undergoing HSCT and to assess patient-oriented outcomes.

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