Dignity Therapy is a brief psychotherapeutic intervention that enhances the lives of people at the end of life. It gives patients a chance to record the meaningful aspects of their lives and leave something behind that can benefit their loved ones in the future. This feasibility study set out to explore the feasibility and acceptability of Dignity Therapy with people with early stage dementia.
Dementia leads to a progressive decline in multiple areas of functioning, with a loss of ability to communicate meaningfully one of those elements.
Dignity Therapy uses a trained therapist to interview the person, and create a document which provides a lasting legacy, by addressing sources of psychosocial and existential distress. It has been carried out with a number of groups, including individuals with motor neurone disease and nursing home residents, but it is not usually carried out for people with cognitive impairment.
The maintenance of dignity remains a key feature of Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy and this project looked to establish whether or not Dignity Therapy could be adapted to improve the quality of life and reduce the psychological and spiritual distress for older people with dementia.
An adapted Dignity Therapy was carried out with patients diagnosed as having early stage dementia in NHS Tayside. The study suggested that Dignity Therapy has the potential to be effective for older people with dementia by enhancing their dignity, and improving their wellbeing, and recommended a wider study.
To learn more about Dignity in Care, please follow this link.