End-of-life: an urgent update in nursing terminology

Joana Bragança*, Lurdes Martins, Emília Campos de Carvalho, Margarida Vieira, Sílvia Caldeira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although nursing terminologies and classifications represent nursing knowledge across diverse clinical areas, end-of-life care seems under represented in many aspects of these instruments. NANDA- I is an international nursing diagnostic classification widely used in nursing education and research. This taxonomy is based on seven axes, including the axis of time. In this commentary we bring discussion to the need to update nursing terminology by including the term end-of-life in the time axis of NANDA-I. After describing the epidemiologic aspects of end-of-life care and discussing the relevant nursing role, we discuss patients' and family's human responses towards the end-of-life time and circumstance, which are central to defining nursing diagnoses. End-of-life care is one priority in health care, and nursing diagnoses should represent that situation as well. This paper focuses on a specific and international nursing diagnosis classification, NANDA-I, which lacks an end-of-life component to its time axis for defining labels of nursing diagnoses. Attending to the importance of classifications in clinical reasoning, nursing diagnoses could better represent responses towards this health condition, opening new opportunities for increasing nursing roles in clinical practice, and also for new studies aiming to validate nursing diagnoses, and promoting an evidence-based practice by including end-of-life in the axis time.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12439
JournalJapan Journal of Nursing Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • End-of-life
  • Nursing diagnoses
  • Palliative care
  • Taxonomy


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