VJ Periyakoil, Geriatrics, Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Publication Details

  • Creation and the Empirical Validation of the Dignity Card-Sort Tool To Assess Factors Influencing Erosion of Dignity at Life's End JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE Periyakoil, V. S., Kraemer, H. C., Noda, A. 2009; 12 (12): 1125-1130


    Patients often experience erosion of dignity as they cope with the dying process. Preserving patient dignity is a sentinel premise of palliative care. This study was conducted to gain a better understanding of factors influencing erosion of dignity at the end of life. We conducted an open-ended written survey of 100 multidisciplinary providers (69% response rate) and responses were categorized to identify 18 themes that were used to create a card-sort tool. The initial 18-item tool was administered to nurses (n = 83), nonhospice community-dwelling subjects (n = 190) and hospice patients (n = 26) and a principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify the 6 primary factors. The key item in each factor as identified by the PCA was used to create the final 6-item dignity card-sort tool (DCT). The DCT was also administered to physicians caring for palliative care patients (n = 21). For each of the final 6 items, the correlation between the respondents (nurses, physicians, nonterminally ill subjects, and subjects receiving hospice care) was calculated using the Spearman's correlation coefficient. The nurses were very highly positively correlated with the physicians (correlation coefficient = 0.94) and the community-dwelling nonterminally ill subjects were highly positively correlated with the subjects receiving hospice care (correlation coefficient = 0.67). More importantly, both the nurses and physicians were negatively correlated with both community dwelling nonterminally ill subjects and the subjects receiving hospice care. The health professionals in the study felt that treating a patient with disrespect and not carrying out their wishes resulted in erosion of dignity. In contrast patients thought that poor medical care and untreated pain were the most important factors leading to erosion of dignity at life's end. The DCT is a promising tool that may help clinicians identify key factors resulting in perceptions of erosion of dignity in adult palliative care patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/jpm.2009.0123

    View details for Web of Science ID 000272525200017

    View details for PubMedID 19708793

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