This study examines the concept of suffering to gain a deeper understanding of the dimensions of suffering at the end of life. Suffering is a central concept in the caring communion at the end of life. To develop an understanding of the concept of suffering, we used semantic concept analysis techniques developed by Koort and analyzed testability using quality content analysis developed by Graneheim and Lundman. The materials analyzed included 14 dictionaries and an autobiography. The concept analysis of suffering revealed three dimensions related to end-of-life care: tolerance, endurance, and agony. These dimensions were continuously referred to throughout the testability analysis. The dimensions can give a deeper understanding for the patients’ total suffering in end-of-life care and their relatives.

Keywords: caring, concept analysis, end of life, nurse, suffering