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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2012 Sep;16(4):353-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2011.07.010. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Dignity conserving care at end-of-life: a narrative review.

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  • 1Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Nursing, 23300, SE-14183 Stockholm, Sweden.



This narrative literature review uses systematic principles to define evidence regarding dignity conserving care at end-of-life from published research on dignity or distress in end-of-life care.


The Chochinov model of dignity was used as a pre-defined framework. Articles were reviewed using thematic analysis to produce a synthesis of findings. A total of 39 articles (26 qualitative and 13 quantitative) fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were found to give suggestions on care actions.


Several care actions were identified related to all themes contained within the Dignity Model, except aftermath concerns. Examples include: controlling symptoms; listening to the patient and taking them seriously; providing advice concerning how to cope on a daily basis; treating patients as equals and with respect, and; encouraging the family members' presence.


Evidence for supporting palliative care services has previously been found to be weak in determining solutions to meet individual's important needs. Drawing together primary research, as in this study, is therefore of importance. The suggested care actions will be used to develop a dignity care pathway for end-of-life care, which is currently being evaluated by the authors. The intention is to provide more valid evidence for the effectiveness of the care actions suggested.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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