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Feasibility and Acceptability of a Dignity Therapy/Life Plan Intervention for Patients With Advanced Cancer

Ann Marie Dose
Joleen M. Hubbard
Aaron S. Mansfield
Pamela J. McCabe
Catherine A. Krecke
Jeff A. Sloan
ONF 2017, 44(5), E194-E202 DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.E194-E202

Purpose/Objectives: To determine the feasibility and acceptability of a dignity therapy/life plan intervention in the outpatient oncology setting.


Research Approach: Pilot descriptive study.


Setting: Outpatient clinic in a tertiary oncology center. 


Participants: 18 patients within 12 months after diagnosis undergoing treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer or non-small cell lung cancer.


Methodologic Approach: Patients received dignity therapy, consisting of a focused life review/values clarification interview session and two subsequent sessions to produce a generativity document, which they can use later as they wish. Participants also wrote a life plan, in which they listed future hopes and dreams. Intervention feasibility and acceptability for patients and oncology clinician satisfaction were assessed.


Findings: Among the 18 patients completing the intervention, almost all felt it was worthwhile, would do it again, had their expectations met or exceeded, would recommend it to others, and said the timing was just right.


Interpretation: This psychosocial intervention was found to be feasible and acceptable to patients with cancer undergoing active treatment.


Implications for Nursing: Nurses may be in an ideal position to offer a dignity therapy/life plan intervention to patients with advanced cancer during treatment.

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