Evaluating a Dignity Care Intervention for palliative care in the community setting: community nurses’ perspectives

Sonja McIlfatrick, michael connolly, Rita Collins, Tara Murphy, Bridget Johnston, Philip Larkin

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Background. Evidence would suggest that dying people fear a loss of dignity and a central focus of palliative care is to assist people to die with dignity. Whilst community nurses have a key role to play in the delivery of palliative care, specific interventions for dignity are lacking. Design. A mixed methods study using online survey and focus group interviews and thematic analysis to examine data. Methods. 24 community nurses implemented the dignity care intervention for people with advanced and life limiting conditions were recruited from four pilot sites across Ireland. Four focus group interviews and on line survey were conducted between March and June 2015Results. The community nurses found the DCI useful. It helped the nurses to provide holistic end of life care and assisted in the overall assessment of palliative care patients, identifying areas that might not otherwise have been noted. Whilst it was a useful tool for communication they noted that it stimulated some emotionally sensitive conversations for which they felt unprepared. Conclusions. Implementing the DCI in practice was challenging. However, the DCI facilitated holistic assessment and identified patient dignity related concerns that may not have been otherwise identified. Further support is required to overcome barriers and enable dignity conserving care Relevance to clinical practice. Ensuring dignity is a key aspect of palliative and end of life care; however community nurses may not feel equipped to address this aspect of care. Implementing a dignity care intervention can assist in identifying patient dignity related concerns and provision of holistic care. Community nurses need more training to assist in difficult conversations relating to dignity and end of life care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Early online date28 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Mar 2017


  • Dignity
  • palliative care
  • community nursing
  • evaluation
  • mixed methods


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