Dignity and diversity in the last phase of life

Research output: PhD ThesisPhd-Thesis - Research and graduation internal


Personal dignity of patients is an essential concern in palliative care research. Research about dignity for migrant patients was lacking. Additionally, care professionals experienced difficulties with providing good care at the end of life for migrant patients. Our aim was to study the experiences and views on dignity of patients with Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese backgrounds and their family members, and the experiences and considerations of care professionals with giving care to patients with diverse backgrounds in the palliative phase.
Vital to the patient’s dignity was a) to be being meaningful to others and to be cared for by family members, b) to surrender to God’s/Allah’s will and religious practice, c) considerate communication about the end of life which leaves room for a higher power that decides about life and death. Autonomy was important, but less prominently than in earlier studies on dignity. The relative’s dignity was interwoven with the patient’s dignity; caring for the patient was vital to the relative’s own dignity. Care professionals’ viewed the meaning of dignity to be personal to the patient, but they also experienced dilemmas in preserving dignity regarding: a) relief of suffering in the terminal phase, b) termination of interventions and treatment, c) disclosure of diagnosis and d) the prominent role of family members in decision making. A combination of cultural competent care and community education would be needed to guarantee dignity. This thesis provides insight into what such cultural competent care and community education would entail for preserving dignity in palliative care.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Willems, Dick, Supervisor
  • Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D., Supervisor, External person
  • Suurmond, Jeanine, Co-supervisor
Award date22 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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