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July 10, 2002

Dignity-Conserving Care at the End of Life

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(2):162. doi:10.1001/jama.288.2.162

To the Editor: Dr Chochinov's article1 on dignity-conserving care at the end of life provides a model for how people should treat each other. Its elements, which generally can be found in hospice care, enable most patients to die with dignity.

Unfortunately, this model is not practiced in most hospital or nursing home settings, and is demanding for the average caregiver. Still, if most individuals with a terminal illness were treated this way, the incentive to end their lives would be greatly reduced. Nonetheless, there would still be other reasons arising from suffering, physical deterioration, and personal choice.