Tallahassee, Fla. (WTXL) - A University of Florida College of Nursing researcher and her team have received grant funding the study of dignity therapy.
Diana Wilkie, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, the Prairieview Trust - Earl and Margo Powers endowed professor, leads a group of researchers who will evaluate the benefits of nurse-led and chaplain-led therapy.
"Today’s health care system tends to focus on expertise surrounding the disease more than on listening to the person and their families and helping them express and achieve their goals, including those related to spirituality," said Wilkie.
Used in conjunction with transitional pain-reduction treatment, dignity therapy considers patients' spiritual well-being.
The purpose of the study is to determine who best to administer this specific type of care. Experts consider dignity therapy a central need for elderly cancer patients.
According to a 2010 study, dignity therapy improved the quality of life and extended life span compared to patients receiving only usual cancer care.
The 560 elderly patients participating in Wilke's research will benefit from more than $3 million dollars from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Nursing Research. The study spans five years and six states, countrywide.
Co-investigators in the study include Yingwei Yao, Ph.D., also on faculty at the UF College of Nursing, and the Rev. George Handzo from Health Care Chaplaincy in New York.