Background Religious leaders are well respected in most Nigerian communities and are often called in to provide support for terminally-ill patients. Many Nigeria communities still view cancer as a stigmatised disease.
Aim This study sought to elicit the perceptions of Christian and Islamic religious leaders and explore problems associated with their involvement in end-of-life care for cancer patients.
Methodology Participants were recruited among 114 religious leaders. Four focus group discussion sessions were then conducted with open-ended questions on previous involvement in end-of-life care of cancer patients and whether they would like to do more. There were thirty (30) willing participants in all. The discussions were audiotaped, transcribed and coded using the NUDIST software.
Results Ninety of the respondents (62%) would not be involved in end-of-life care. This is because of the fear of peer pressure. The responses could be classified under three major themes were identified: (1) Care supposed to be provided by all religious leaders (2) End-of-Life care in institutions are safer (3) End-of-Life care consumes time. Statements made by respondents include “I will fall out with many if I am found ministering to dying patients”.
Conclusion We observe that peer pressure played an important role in the acceptability of end-of-life activities in this group. This could be used in the positive light in designing interventions.
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