Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days

ISBN : 9780195176216

Harvey Max Chochinov
224 Pages
163 x 238 mm
Pub date
Jan 2012
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Maintaining dignity for patients approaching death is a core principle of palliative care. Translating that principle into methods of guiding care at the end of life, however, can be a complicated and daunting task. Dignity therapy, a psychological intervention developed by Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov and his internationally lauded research group, has been 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. Tested with patients with advanced illnesses in Canada, the United States, Australia, China, Scotland, England, and Denmark, dignity therapy has been shown to not only benefit patients, but their families as well. In the first book to lay out the blueprint for this unique and meaningful intervention, Chochinov addresses one of the most important dimensions of being human. Being alive means being vulnerable and mortal; he argues that dignity therapy offers a way to preserve meaning and hope for patients approaching death. Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days is a beautiful introduction to this pioneering and innovative work. With history and foundations of dignity in care, and step by step guidance for readers interested in implementing the program, this volume illuminates how dignity therapy can change end-of-life experience for those about to die - and for those who will grieve their passing.


Chapter 1: Dignity and the End of Life
Why Study Dignity?
Dignity and Empirical Research
The Model of Dignity in the Terminally Ill
Illness-Related Concerns
- Level of Independence
- Symptom Distress
Dignity-Conserving Repertoire
- Dignity-Conserving Perspectives
- Dignity-Conserving Practices
Social Dignity Inventory
- Privacy Boundaries
- Social Support
- Care Tenor
- Burden to Others
- Aftermath Concerns
Chapter 2: Moving Dignity into Care
How the Dignity Model Informs Dignity Therapy
- Form
- Tone
- Content
Dignity Therapy Revealed
The First Clinical Trial is Published
What about Families?
Gold Standard Evidence
Time to Move On
Chapter 3: Introducing Dignity Therapy to Patients and Families
Patient Selection for Dignity Therapy
Who Should Not Take Part in Dignity Therapy?
Chapter 4: Doing Dignity Therapy
Setting up the Dignity Therapy Session
The Role of the Dignity Therapist
Chapter 5: The Generativity Document
The Rationale for Editing Dignity Therapy Transcripts
Transcribing the Audio-Recorded Interview
Editing the Verbatim Transcript
- Cleaning Up the Transcript
- Clarifying the Transcript
- Finding a Suitable Ending
- The Patient Has the Final Say
Chapter 6. From Start to Finish
Chapter 7. Moving Forward

About the author: 

Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov is an international leader in palliative care. He is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at CancerCare Manitoba. His seminal publications on psychosocial issues in advanced illness have helped define core competencies and standards of palliative end-of-life care. Dr. Chochinov has also been a guest lecturer in many major academic institutions around the world. He has been lauded for his contributions to palliative care, with awards and recognitions coming from the International Psycho-oncology Society, the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, and the American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

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