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Dignity Therapy : Final Words for Final Days

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Maintaining dignity for patients approaching death is a core principle of palliative care. Translating that principle into methods of guiding care at the end of life, however, can be a complicated and daunting task. Dignity therapy, a psychological intervention developed by Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov and his internationally lauded research group, has been designed specifically to address many of the psychological, existential, and spiritual challenges that patients and their families face as they grapple with the reality of life drawing to a close. Tested with patients with advanced illnesses in Canada, the United States, Australia, China, Scotland, England, and Denmark, dignity therapy has been shown to not only benefit patients, but their families as well. In the first book to lay out the blueprint for this unique and meaningful intervention, Chochinov addresses one of the most important dimensions of being human. Being alive means being vulnerable and mortal; he argues that dignity therapy offers a way to preserve meaning and hope for patients approaching death. Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days is a beautiful introduction to this pioneering and innovative work. With history and foundations of dignity in care, and step by step guidance for readers interested in implementing the program, this volume illuminates how dignity therapy can change end-of-life experience for those about to die - and for those who will grieve their passing.

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  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 157.48 x 238.76 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
  • 26 Jan 2012
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York
  • English
  • 0195176219
  • 9780195176216
  • 120,657

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Author Information

Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov is an international leader in palliative care. He is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at CancerCare Manitoba. His seminal publications on psychosocial issues in advanced illness have helped define core competencies and standards of palliative end-of-life care. Dr. Chochinov has also been a guest lecturer in many major academic institutions around the world. He has been lauded for his contributions to palliative care, with awards and recognitions coming from the International Psycho-oncology Society, the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, and the American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

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Review quote

This is truly a remarkable book- it simultaneously brings together the best we know of the science of palliative care with the essence and best of compassionate care. Jimmie C. Holland, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre For all health professionals who find themselves struggling to help patients face the complex process of dying, this book is both a detailed roadmap and an extraordinary guide that dispels the myth that 'there is nothing else they can do.' Most importantly, the book sets a high standard for creating an environment that enables patients' exploration of personhood and suffering and enhances their dignity in the final days of their lives. Kathleen M. Foley, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre [This book] gives us all clear guidance to help our patients and their families to make meaning of their lives in a consistent and standardized manner. Because it will help us to better help our patients and their families, his work is a gift to palliative care clinicians everywhere. Diane E. Meier, Director, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute and Mount Sinai School of Medicine Dignity Therapy is a rich blend of a deep understanding of the existential concerns of the seriously ill and dying, and an incredibly practical resource for clinicians. Betty Ferrell, City of Hope Medical Centre This is not your usual medical text- it is written with profound sensitivity, humanity, and wisdom that is both inspiring and practical. Nathan I. Cherny, Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, Israel In this elegant book, Harvey Chochinov shows how the interrelatedness of one human being with another affects an individual's intrinsic sense of dignity, and he examines the implications of this on the care environment. Every palliative care service will find this book enriching and will look with refreshed eyes on the work of providing care to others. Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff, Cardiff University, and Member, House of Lords, UK [It] offers unique insight into the process of psychological dying and the opportunity for growth. I recommend it to anyone who is working in the helping professions and has the unique opportunity to be present as individuals create their own last chapter. J. Donald Schumacher, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization This book is valuable to clinicians from all settings and fields, those involved in medical and nursing education, and those undertaking research to improve patient and family experience and care. Irene J. Higginson, King's College, London Dr. Chochinov's Dignity Therapy provides a practical way to implement one of the essential elements of any healthcare system and any relationship between a clinician or caregiver and patient who is seriously ill- honouring the dignity of each and every individual. His book provides practical, evidence-based, yet sacred, interventions that allow for healing in the midst of suffering. Christina M. Puchalski, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Whether you are a professional who, like me, works in palliative care or in another setting, I recommend Chochinov's book as one to put on your reading list for the coming year. Plain Views Dignity Therapy is an engaging read distinguished by its depth of insight and vibrant perspective. Andrew R. Barnosky, DO, MPH, JAMA

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