Eliciting Personhood Within Clinical Practice: Effects on Patients, Families, and Health Care Providers

Chochinov, Harvey Max, McClement, Susan, Hack, Thomas orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6552-2323, Thompson, Genevieve, Dufault, Brenden and Harlos, Mike (2014) Eliciting Personhood Within Clinical Practice: Effects on Patients, Families, and Health Care Providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 49 (6). 974-980.e2. ISSN 08853924

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2014.11.29...


Context Failure to acknowledge personhood is often the cause of patient and family dissatisfaction. We developed the Patient Dignity Question (PDQ) as a simple means of inquiring about personhood: "What do I need to know about you as a person to give you the best care possible?" Objectives This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the PDQ on patients and families, evaluate its influence on health care providers (HCPs), and determine if HCP characteristics mediate receptivity to PDQ-elicited information. Methods Palliative care patients or their family members were asked to respond to the PDQ. Responses were summarized, read to participants to ensure accuracy, and with permission, placed in their charts. Patient, family, and HCP responses to the PDQ were then elicited. Results A total of 126 participants (66 patients and 60 family members) responded to the PDQ; 99% indicated that the summaries were accurate, 97% permitted the summary to be placed in the chart, 93% felt that the information was important for HCPs to know, and 99% would recommend the PDQ for others. A total of 137 HCPs completed 293 evaluations of individual PDQs; 90% indicated that they learned something new from it, 64% that they were emotionally affected by it, 59% that it influenced their sense of empathy, and 44% that it influenced their care. HCP empathy, job satisfaction, having a meaningful life, and social support mediated responsiveness to PDQ-elicited information. Conclusion The PDQ offers an effective way of eliciting personhood, enhancing patient, family, and HCP experience alike.

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