Dignity-Conserving Care in Medicine

  • Luigi GrassiEmail author
  • Harvey Chochinov
  • Giuseppe Moretto
  • Maria Giulia Nanni
Part of the Integrating Psychiatry and Primary Care book series (IPPC)


Dignity-conserving care is a multifactorial construct, consisting of three primary domains, i.e. illness-related concerns, such as symptom distress; dignity-conserving perspectives and practices, such as continuity of the self, maintenance of pride and hopefulness; and social dimensions of dignity, such as privacy concerns, burden to others and aftermath concerns. Dignity-conserving care has recently been the focus of research in both somatic and mental care settings. In patients suffering from somatic disorders, particularly chronic and progressive disorders, loss of dignity is often manifested by loss of identity, shattering of their self-image or having psychological, interpersonal, spiritual and existential needs that are not being adequately addressed. Similar issues apply to psychiatric patient healthcare, where stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination continue to exist. Fractured dignity has been associated with increasing levels of physical and psychological symptoms, including spiritual pain. The delivery of dignity-conserving care is essential in achieving a holistic and healing approach, improving the satisfaction of patients, families and healthcare professionals alike.


Dignity Communication Compassion Chronic progressive disorders Medicine Psychiatry Healthcare 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luigi Grassi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harvey Chochinov
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Giuseppe Moretto
    • 5
  • Maria Giulia Nanni
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical SciencesUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.Manitoba Palliative Care Research UnitCancerCare ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Research Institute of Oncology and Hematology, CancerCare ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  5. 5.Division of NeurologyPalliative Care Programme, Integrated University HospitalVeronaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical SciencesInstitute of Psychiatry, University of FerraraFerraraItaly
  7. 7.University Hospital Psychiatry Unit, Program on Psycho-Oncology and Psychiatry in Palliative Care, Integrated Department of Mental HealthS. Anna Hospital and Local Health AuthoritiesFerraraItaly

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