Dignity Enhanced through Faith & Family Support in Palliative Care : A Qualitative Study

Sailian, Silva Dakessian and Salifu, Yakubu and Preston, Nancy (2024) Dignity Enhanced through Faith & Family Support in Palliative Care : A Qualitative Study. BMC Palliative Care, 23 (1): 142. ISSN 1472-684X

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Background: Dignity is integral to palliative care. Illness can diminish it, causing hopelessness and the wish to hasten death. Yet, dignity is a complex multidimensional phenomenon, influenced by values and context. Understanding its varying interpretations can inform practice and policy. The aim of the study is to explore the understanding of dignity in adult patients with palliative care needs from a Lebanese perspective and how it is preserved during illness and while receiving health services. Design: Qualitative interview study underpinned with a social constructionist lens. Fourteen patients recruited from home-based hospice and outpatient clinics in Lebanon. Data analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Results: Four themes were developed across all the interviews: (a) Dignity anchored through faith in God and religious practices; (b) Family support in maintaining physical, psychological wellbeing, and social connectedness; (c) Physical fitness, mental acuity, and healthy appearance through which patients may escape the stigma of disease, (d) accessible, equitable, and compassionate healthcare. Discussion: Dignity is elusive and difficult to define but faith and religious beliefs play a significant contribution in this study. For the participants, illness is seen as a natural part of life that does not necessarily diminish dignity, but it is the illness related changes that potentially affect dignity. Findings show the importance of family and children in preserving dignity during illness and how their active presence provide a sense of pride and identity. Participants aspired to restore physical, social, and mental well-being to reclaim their dignity and normalize their lives. Challenges related to physical appearance, memory loss, vitality, and social stigma associated with illness diminished dignity. Accessible, equitable and compassionate healthcare services are also crucial in preserving dignity. Participants valued clear communication, respect, and empathy from healthcare providers and identified affordability of care essential for maintaining dignity. Conclusion: Faith in God, and strong family ties are dominant elements to maintaining dignity in the Lebanese context. Relational connectedness with family, children or God is also a need in maintaining dignity in other communal countries with variations in emphasis. The study indicates that religious and cultural context shapes the needs and perceptions of dignity during illness. These findings are likely to be transferable to many Middle Eastern countries but also countries with strong religious and family ties globally.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
BMC Palliative Care
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? dignitypalliative carefamilyfaithmiddle eastqualitative researchmedicine(all) ??
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Deposited On:
30 May 2024 10:30
Last Modified:
17 Jun 2024 00:12