Using the "patient dignity question" as a person-centred intervention for patients with palliative care needs in an acute hospital setting

Marion Gaffney, Bridget Johnston, Deans Buchanan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients who are living with a progressive, life threatening illness. In order to achieve this, the patient needs to be cared for as a person. However, current research indicates that this is not always achieved in the acute hospital setting.

    This feasibility study set out to determine the practicalities and effectiveness of using the ‘Patient Dignity Question’, (Chochinov 2010) an intervention derived from extensive, empirical research on dignity near the end of life, in order to enhance person-centred care.

    A mixed methods feasibility study using both patient reported outcomes measures (person centred climate questionnaire PCCQ; Patient Dignity Question questionnaire (developed by Chochinov et al), and semi-structured interviews was adopted underpinned by pragmatic theory. The study was conducted in a large teaching hospital with a purposive sample of nine patients and five healthcare professionals.

    The results of indicate that is feasible to carry out this type of study for people with palliative needs in the acute care setting. Adopting a mixed methods approach was effective in answering the research questions and meeting the study aims. The primary outcome measure was effective in determining the person-centred nature of the hospital climate. However, it was unable to determine if the ‘Patient Dignity Question’ had a direct influence on this.

    Study participants were willing and happy to take part in this study despite their illness and environment. Participants found the ‘Patient Dignity Question’ and summary both useful and practical. They described it as an intervention that can help to improve the care patients receive and help them feel valued as an individual. A funded study with 30 patient, 30 family members and 30 health professionals is now being undertaken with a before and after trial design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)A13-A14
    JournalBMJ Supportive & Palliative Care
    Issue numbers1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    Dive into the research topics of 'Using the "patient dignity question" as a person-centred intervention for patients with palliative care needs in an acute hospital setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this