Vol 14, No 2 (2020)
Research paper
Published online: 2020-05-18

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The meaning of dignity patient question and changes in the approach to this issue of cancer patients during home hospice care

Marta Łabuś-Centek1, Damian Jagielski2, Małgorzata Krajnik1
Palliat Med Pract 2020;14(2):89-94.


Introduction. M.H. Chochinov’s dignity question: What do I need to know about you as a person to take
the best care of you that I can? is a brief diagnostic and therapeutic intervention. The aim of the study
was to assess how cancer patients assess the relevance of the question, how they answer and whether
the evaluation of this method changes with the duration of home palliative care.
Patients and methods. The study involved 200 patients of the home hospice, who were divided into 2
groups. Group A comprised 100 patients receiving palliative care for up to 7 days, group B included 100
patients under care exceeding 7 days. All patients were posed a dignity question and 2 related ones: whether
they consider this question important and whether it should be recommended in practice. In group A, the
study was repeated after at least 21 days. Competent judges were then selected and the answers were
assigned to specific categories.
Results. The most frequently chosen answer was the one from the category of request for medical staff’s
help or support, which was characterised by the greatest variability under the influence of time — exchange
for an answer: nothing, you already know everything about me. The vast majority of the surveyed
patients answered affirmatively to the question about the significance of interventions regarding the care
for patients and agreed that the question should be recommended in practice.
Conclusions. In most patients the answers to the dignity question change with the duration of home
palliative care, which may be related to deepening relations with medical staff. The dignity question has
been considered significant regarding the patient care.

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