Dr. Harvey Chochinov & Dr. Genevieve Thompson

Dying with Dignity: A Contemporary Challenge in End-of-Life Care

Over the past decade, Dr. Chochinov’s research group has conducted a number of studies addressing the issue of dying with dignity in patients who are terminally ill. Dignity is a highly politicized term, which has been used to support various approaches for care of the dying. While most palliative care providers attending to patients would espouse dignity as an overarching value or goal of end-of-life care, few studies have provided guidance or direction on how this might be operationalized or systematically achieved. This information is vital to ensure that dying patients maintain their sense of dignity until the very end. This talk  addresses how terminally ill patients understand the notion of dignity and what factors undermine or maintain their sense of dignity.

Clinical illustrations and research data highlight the therapeutic considerations that are informed by an understanding of dignity related distress. The basics of Dignity Conserving Care were reviewed and the implications for healthcare providers detailed.