Dignity TherapyFinal Words for Final Days

Dignity TherapyFinal Words for Final Days

Harvey Max Chochinov

Print publication date: 2012

ISBN: 9780195176216

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

Maintaining dignity for patients approaching death is a core principle of palliative care. Turning that principle into ways of guiding care at the end-of-life, however, can be a complicated and daunting task. Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, an international leader in palliative care, has conducted groundbreaking research on the issue of dignity and palliative care. His findings are beginning to change the way people think about and approach care for the terminally ill. Dignity Therapy is a novel, individualized, brief psychological intervention, designed specifically to address many of the psychological, existential and spiritual challenges that patients and their families face as they grapple with the reality of life drawing to a close. This therapeutic approach, based on years of Chochinov and his team's research, has been tested on patients with advanced illnesses in various countries worldwide. Many palliative care programs are starting to incorporate Dignity Therapy into the range of services offered dying patients and their families. This enthusiastic uptake of Dignity Therapy speaks to some universal aspects of being human; to be alive means to experience being vulnerable and being mortal. Dignity Therapy offers a way of preserving meaning, purpose and hope for patients approaching death. The benefits of this approach for patients and families have been demonstrated in various studies in diverse settings. Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days introduces readers to this pioneering and innovative work, illustrating how Dignity Therapy can change end-of-life experience for those about to die and those who will grieve their passing.