Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

'Dignity Therapy' Gives Comfort to Dying Patients

Study Shows Therapy Is Helpful for Terminally Ill Patients and Their Families

Healing Family Relations continued...

"When you talk to people about their life, you allow them not to be a naked patient in a gown, but a mother, business executive, or whatever their role is," Wolf-Klein says. "This is much more satisfactory than if you are just treated like a number in a room."

It is about getting to know the person, not the patient, she says. "We want to understand their life history and what their roles have been in their family or community and what have they accomplished and are really proud of."

Donald Schumacher, PsyD, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a nonprofit group in Alexandria, Va., says that this type of therapy should be offered to all patients with terminal illnesses.

"It is very useful and helpful, and this study does point out very dramatically that people in last stages of life can benefit," he says. "The feeling had been that if you don't have a long time to be in therapy, it won't be helpful, but that is not true."

Dignity therapy "will help patients complete some of their life work and can go a way to healing familial relations that might be undone."

1|2

Today on WebMD

blueberries
Eating for a longer, healthier life.
romantic couple
Dr. Ruth’s bedroom tips for long-term couples.
 
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
 
fast healthy snack ideas
Article
how healthy is your mouth
Tool
 
dog on couch
Tool
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
champagne toast
Slideshow
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Quiz
 
Man feeding woman
Slideshow
two senior women laughing
Article