Researchers in Canada and Australia have found that helping dying patients relive and record important memories can ease end-of-life distress. So-called “dignity therapy” helps to increase patients sense of purpose and meaning in life and ease their suffering and depression. The lead author in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Dr Harvey Max Chochinov, of the University of Manitoba, says that while medicine has made much progress in treating physical symptoms, little is known about how to relieve “spiritual or existential anguish”. In an editorial comment, Betty Ferrell, of the City of Hope National Medical Center in California, called dignity therapy a major contribution to advancing care for the terminally ill”.
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