Dignity and Quality of Life

What we know

Quality of Life (QoL) is an important construct in health as it reminds us that QoL is a subjective evaluation owned by the person. However, we need to be aware that what happens to a person can influence their QoL. For example ensuring that symptoms are treated appropriately can improve QoL. Dignity therapy is beneficial for older people at end-of-life and for their family and carers.

What can I do?

Using a tool such as the Patient Dignity Inventory and the The Patient Dignity Question (PDQ) can help you become more sensitive and aware of the person.

To measure symptoms and support needs of a person in your care, you can use The Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS) - available in 11 languages.

You may want to use the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL questionnaire to assess the quality of life of someone in palliative cancer care.

Pain can compromise quality of life. You can use the following tools to assess pain:


What can I learn?

Rodríguez-Prat A, Monforte-Royo C, Porta-Sales J, Escribano X, Balaguer A. Patient perspectives of dignity, autonomy and control at the end of life: Systematic review and meta-ethnography. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 24;11(3):e0151435.
This review examines how dignity contributes to a person's identity.

Watch Harvey Chochinov talk about Dignity Therapy, Canadian Virtual Hospice.


What can my organisation do?

Providing a homely or personalised physical environment may be of great comfort particularly if it allows family or friends to stay close to an older person receiving palliative care.


Page updated 24 June 2020