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Preserving dignity at the end of life

Preserving dignity at the end of life

An expert in dignity therapy will visit Auckland in February to talk with health professionals and the general public about interventions that help preserve dignity at the end of life.

Canadian Professor Harvey Chochinov is recognised globally as a leader in end of life care teaching and research and is being brought to New Zealand by Mercy Hospice Auckland, The Goodfellow Unit (School of Population Health) and The School of Nursing, of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland.

While in Auckland Professor Chochinov, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, Cancer Care Manitoba, Canada, will present a programme about dignity at the end of life and will teach ‘dignity therapy’, a process used to address dignity and meaning in the final weeks of life. As part of Professor Chochinov’s Auckland programme he will give a free lecture at The Rae Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Grammar School, Silver Rd (off Gillies Ave ), Epsom on Tuesday, 5 February 2008 at 7.30 pm.

Dr Chochinov has been undertaking palliative care research since 1990 with funding support from local, provincial and national granting agencies in Canada. His work, which has been widely published, has explored various psychiatric dimensions of palliative medicine, including issues of depression, desire for death and their relationship with other prevalent sources of symptom distress among the terminally ill.

“End of life issues and the need for good palliative care are increasingly raised as public concerns,” Mercy Hospice Auckland CEO Jan Nichols says. “We feel that this open lecture offers a forum for people to hear of the possibilities that dignity focused therapies offer.

“As a hospice and education based organisation, we believe that working to achieve dignity in death is paramount for our patients, our staff and our society.

“Dr Cochinov has conducted research into subjects such as dignity psychotherapy (a novel intervention to alleviate suffering at the end of life) and has also helped to develop the Canadian Virtual Hospice, an Internet-based interactive network that will provide mutual support, exchange of information, education and consultation for the terminally ill and those caring for them. I am sure the public and those involved in palliative care here will learn much from his visit.”


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