Perspectives of newly diagnosed advanced cancer patients receiving dignity therapy during cancer treatment

Ann Marie Dose, Lori M. Rhudy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Dignity therapy is a psychosocial intervention that has been used primarily at the end of life to improve quality of life and other patient outcomes, but many individuals are unable to complete it due to health decline and death. The purpose of this study was to identify what individuals with advanced pancreatic or lung cancer with limited life expectancy, undergoing active cancer treatment describe during the dignity therapy intervention as important to them when not immediately facing end of life. Methods: Twenty patients undergoing chemotherapy for advanced cancer participated in a dignity therapy intervention study. Initial interviews were analyzed using descriptive content analysis. Results: Family provided the overall context and background for emerging themes of defining events, accomplishments, and God’s plan, which led to lessons learned, and resulted in messages of hope. Interviews were often autobiographical in nature and contained much reminiscence, consistent with dignity therapy’s intent. Few participants spoke about their cancer diagnoses during the interview. Conclusions: This study adds unique insight into the use of dignity therapy for those still receiving active cancer treatment, different from work by others in which it was offered only at end of life. As part of supportive care, clinicians need to validate the importance of family to those with advanced cancer and to provide opportunities for patients to share what they have learned throughout life and to impart messages of hope to those closest to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Dignity therapy
  • Generativity document
  • Palliative care
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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