Journal Articles

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BACKGROUND: Family involvement and comfort are equally important in palliative care. Dignity undertook a new meaning and novel challenges as a result of restrictions on visits and companionship during the pandemic. Family-centered family dignity interventions have been shown to be effective in increasing patients' sense of dignity, increasing levels of hope, and reducing psychological distress; however, the effectiveness in enhancing family adaptability and intimacy in the survivor-caregiver binary and reducing expected grief have been inconclusive.

OBJECTIVES: The primary objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of family dignity interventions on family adaptability and cohesion. The secondary objective was to explore the effects of the interventions on anticipatory grief and psychological distress, and the lasting effect 1 month after the intervention.

DESIGN: A single-blinded, two-arm parallel group, randomized controlled trial was conducted in China.

SETTINGS: and methods: Ninety-eight dyads who met the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned to the family dignity intervention (n = 51) or standard palliative care group (n = 47) between June and August 2022. Study outcomes were measured at baseline, immediately post-intervention, and at the 1-month follow-up post-intervention evaluation. Data were analyzed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, independent sample

RESULTS: In comparison to the control group, significant improvements in family adaptability and cohesion and anticipatory grief over post-intervention and 1-month follow-up were demonstrated among the patients in the intervention group. The intervention group of caregivers had significant improvement in anticipatory grief at post-intervention and 1-month follow-up. The level of psychological distress was significantly lower in the intervention group than the control group (p < 0.05) at 1-month follow-up but the differences were not statistically significant at post-intervention. All outcomes showed clear differences from baseline after the intervention and at the 1-month follow-up evaluation but not between post-intervention and at the 1-month follow-up evaluation.

CONCLUSION: This study further verifies the actual effect of family dignity intervention program through randomized controlled trials, and provides a reference for improving the family relationship between advanced cancer patients and their family caregivers, and improving their mental health. The addition of family dignity intervention to standard palliative care greatly increased the adaptability and cohesion between survivors and their families, lessened the anticipatory grief of the survivor-caregiver pair, and relieved caregivers' anxiety and despair. We did not detect a statistically significant difference between post-intervention and the 1-month follow-up evaluation, suggesting that the intervention may have a durable impact at least 1 month.


Dignity therapy, Family caregivers, Palliative care, Randomized controlled trail



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