Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Health SciencesOur research

Research project: Dignity therapy for older people in care homes - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 

A short treatment has been developed to help increase people’s feelings of dignity and reduce feelings of distress towards the end of life. This involves giving people the chance to talk about their lives, what they want to be remembered for, and any advice they would like to leave to family and friends. The interview is made into a document, which can be left with people of patients’ choosing. We plan to see if dignity therapy helps older people reaching the end of life in care homes and their families. We will compare feelings of dignity and distress in residents who have had the therapy with those who have not and ask residents for their views on the treatment. We will also ask the people who received the dignity documents if they have helped them. We will also explore the possibility of care home staff being involved in the therapy

The aim of this study is to assess the potential effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of delivering a brief psychotherapy to reduce psychological distress in older people in care homes. The therapy can be delivered at the bedside, by any trained health or social care professional and aims to help patients and their families. It comprises a short interview, which is recorded, transcribed, edited for clarity, then returned to the resident to share with people of their choosing. We plan to explore the possibility of involving care home staff in the therapy. 64 residents of care homes will be randomly allocated to one of two groups: the therapy intervention, or a control group. The main outcomes will be a sense of dignity and psychological distress. This and other outcomes for residents will be assessed at one and eight week follow-up. The views of recipients residents’ documents (usually family) will be sought.

Project team

Professor Alison Richardson


Dr Sue Hall, King’s College London, Professor Irene Higginson, Professor Harvey Chochinov, Professor Scott Murray and Dr Richard Harding

Project funder

The Dunhill Medical Trust

Associated research themes

Older people
Palliative care
End of life care
Complex intervention

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
Share this research project Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings