The acknowledgment and promotion of dignity is commonly viewed as the cornerstone of person-centered care. Although the preservation of dignity is often highlighted as a key tenet of palliative care provision, the concept of dignity and its implications for practice remain nebulous to many clinicians. Dignity in care encompasses a series of theories describing different forms of dignity, the factors that impact them, and strategies to encourage dignity-conserving care. Different modalities and validated instruments of dignity in care have been shown to lessen existential distress at the end of life and promote patient-clinician understanding. It is essential that palliative care clinicians be aware of the impacts of dignity-related distress, how it manifests, and common solutions that can easily be adapted, applied, and integrated into practice settings. Dignity-based constructs can be learned as a component of postgraduate or continuing education. Implemented as a routine component of palliative care, they can provide a means of enhancing patient-clinician relationships, reducing bias, and reinforcing patient agency across the span of serious illness. Palliative care clinicians-often engaging patients, families, and communities in times of serious illness and end of life-wield significant influence on whether dignity is intentionally integrated into the experience of health care delivery. Thus, dignity can be a tangible, actionable, and measurable palliative care goal and outcome. This article, written by a team of palliative care specialists and dignity researchers, offers 10 tips to facilitate the implementation of dignity-centered care in serious illness.
Authors: Rachel A Hadler Seth Weeks, William E Rosa, Stephanie Choate, Matthew Goldshore, Miguel Julião, Blake Mergler, Judith Nelson 9, Jesse Soodalter, Caywin Zhuang, Harvey Max Chochinov
Journal: Journal of palliative medicine
Date published: 2023 Oct 13
Hadler RA, Weeks S, Rosa WE, Choate S, Goldshore M, Julião M, Mergler B, Nelson J, Soodalter J, Zhuang C, Chochinov HM. Top Ten Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Dignity-Conserving Practice. J Palliat Med. 2023 Oct 13. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2023.0544. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37831928.