Constructions of dignity in end-of-life care

J Palliat Care. Summer 2001;17(2):93-101.


The meaning of dignity is commonly assumed but rarely examined in palliative care. Dying with dignity often forms the basis of clinical decision making at the end of life, but is constructed differently depending upon setting and context. A discourse analysis of patient and family case studies found that relationships and embodiment were important aspects of dignity that have been neglected in the literature, although these constructions of dignity matter to dying people and their families. An understanding of these constructions can assist clinicians in providing sensitive palliative care across a range of community and medical settings.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Right to Die*
  • Terminal Care / methods*
  • Terminally Ill / psychology*