Dignity Therapy – Ontario HPC Conference

Dignity Therapy – Ontario HPC Conference

One of the highlights of attending the Ontario HPC conference in Toronto was hearing Dr. Harvey Chochinov speak.

According to his bio listed on the Canadian Virtual Hospice website Dr. Chochinov,

“is known around the world for his research into the emotional and psychological needs of dying patients. His work exploring dignity in palliative care has been published in journals such as The Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal…..”

“Dr. Chochinov established the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at Cancer Care Manitoba and holds the only Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Order of Manitoba for his work in palliative care. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

He is also the Chair of Canadian Virtual Hospice (see previous blog). But for me, it was his gentle presence and his statement,

“I am not an expert but a messenger”

that drew me to him. (Did you know that Dame C. Saunders defined an expert as “One who knows the answers before the question is asked”?)

Dr. Chochinov spoke on Dignity Therapy, and in addressing our role as caregivers he said that our role is to

“make sure that the individual does not lose their sense of self”.

He talked of how this is sometimes done intuitively, but also referred to a model….

“His A, B, C and D guide to patient care – A for attitude, B for behaviour, C for compassion and D for dialogue – reminds doctors and other health professionals to make time for kindness and humanity in health care. Dr. Chochinov’s research shows that something as simple as a kind word or sympathetic touch influences how patients experience illness.”

June 14-16 a course on Dignity Therapy is being offered in Winnipeg. As of this date, there are still a few places open to the public. This course will draw on people from across the globe, and provide an incredible opportunity to be a part of a rich learning experience. For more information about the workshop, please contact: CancerCare Manitoba Research Unit at mpcru@cancercare.mb.ca

For those of us who can not make it to the course, they are developing a website which should be up and running soon. Because Dr. Chochinov is chair of Canadian Virtual Hospice, and because Canadian Virtual Hospice is one of the finest online learning resources I know… I am sure that this site will be full of resources and practical ideas.


Information retrieved on April 29, 2010 from the Canadian Virtual Hospice website:
Virtual Hospice – Dignity Therapy


#DignityTherapy #Chochinov #VirtualHospice

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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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