Danes have few linguistic resources for dealing with existential thoughts and feelings, and medical languages are increasingly being implemented in the general language. However, studies have found that terminal patients increase their quality of life by talking about their thoughts concerning death with the healthcare staff. A recent Danish study found that the primary barrier for this dialogue is due to the individuals being rooted in a dominant medical paradigm. This study explores how terminal patients talk about death and afterlife.

The study applied a qualitative method with semi-structured interviews with 12 patients at two hospices. The method of analyses was Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

We found that patients mostly talk about death chronologically and primary with medical language. They apply fewer existential concepts, and it seems to affect how they experience hope at the end of life. We encourage healthcare professionals to support existential language in communication with patients.

Keywords: afterlife, death, existential communication, hope, spiritual care