Objectives This study aimed to explore the construct of dignity of the patient–family dyad in hospice palliative care, as well as its influencing factors from the perspective of hospice palliative care staff.
Methods A qualitative descriptive study was conducted with 34 staff members from a residential hospice in Amherst, USA, and an inpatient palliative care unit in Winnipeg, Canada, between September 2013 and December 2016. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and were analysed using the thematic analysis approach.
Results Findings suggested that staff members viewed dignity as something that is reciprocally supported within the patient–family unit. Themes including respect, comfort, privacy, being informed and quality family time were common in the conceptualisation of dignity in patients and families; themes of being human and being self, autonomy and living with dignity were uniquely used to conceptualise patient dignity. Themes solely constituting family dignity included being included in care, being capable and being treated fairly. Cultural considerations, environmental factors, teamwork and patient/family–staff relationship were the factors identified by staff members that affected dignity in hospice palliative care.
Conclusion Findings of this study provide insights into the development of strategies to support the dignity of the patient–family unit in hospice palliative care.
- dying patients
- family members
- hospice care
- palliative care
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Contributors QG contributed to the conceptualisation and design of the study. QG and RZ contributed to data analysis and interpretation of data, with major contributions from QG. QG drafted the manuscript, and CSJ, SM, GT and HC critically revised it.
Funding This submission was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81803102). The funder had no role in study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, writing of the report, and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (institutional review boards at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, 00003909, and the Research Ethics Board at the University of Manitoba, HS18775) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement No data are available.
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