Dignity-conserving care--a new model for palliative care: helping the patient feel valued

JAMA. 2002 May 1;287(17):2253-60. doi: 10.1001/jama.287.17.2253.


The basic tenets of palliative care may be summarized as the goal of helping patients to die with dignity. The term "dignity" provides an overarching framework that may guide the physician, patient, and family in defining the objectives and therapeutic considerations fundamental to end-of-life care. Dignity-conserving care is care that may conserve or bolster the dignity of dying patients. Using segments of interviews with a patient with advanced lung cancer, his wife, and his palliative care physician, this article illustrates and explores various aspects of dignity-conserving care and the model on which it is based. Dignity-conserving care offers an approach that clinicians can use to explicitly target the maintenance of dignity as a therapeutic objective and as a principle of bedside care for patients nearing death.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care*
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Right to Die*
  • Terminally Ill / psychology*