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The Demoralization Scale (DS) is the most widely used measure for assessing demoralization. Following the recent clamor for brief assessment tools, and taking into account that demoralization has proved to be a symptom that needs to be controlled and treated in the palliative care setting, a shorter scale is needed. The aim of the present research is to introduce and evaluate the Short Demoralization Scale (SDS).
We employed a cross-sectional design that included a survey of 226 Spanish palliative care patients from the Hospital General Universitario de Valencia. We employed the SDS, the DS, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
The confirmatory factor analysis supported the one-factor structure of the SDS (χ2(5) = 12.915; p = 0.024; CFI = 0.999; RMSEA = 0.084; CI95% = [0.028, 0.141]). The reliability was found to be appropriate, with a value of Cronbach's alpha (α) equal to 0.920. A cutoff criterion of 10 was established, which favored the interpretability of the instrument.
Significance of results:
The SDS corrects previous limitations, has a simple scoring system, is cost-effective, and is widely and fully available. In addition, our findings demonstrate that the SDS can be employed effectively in the clinical context.
Several studies have successfully tested psychosocial interventions in palliative care patients. Counseling is the technique most often employed. Dignity therapy (DT) has recently emerged as a tool that can be utilized to address patients' needs at the end of life. The aims of our study were to examine the effects of DT and counseling and to offer useful information that could be put into practice to better meet patients' needs.
We developed a pilot randomized controlled trial at the Home Care Unit of the General University Hospital of Valencia (Spain). Some 70 patients were assigned to two therapy groups. The measurement instruments employed included the Patient Dignity Inventory (PDI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS), the GES Questionnaire, the Duke–UNC-11 Functional Social Support Questionnaire, and two items from the EORTC Quality of Life C30 Questionnaire (EORTC–QLQ–C30).
The results of repeated-measures t tests showed statistically significant differences with respect to the dimensions of dignity, anxiety, spirituality, and quality of life for both groups. However, depression increased in the DT group after the intervention, and there were no differences with respect to resilience. Therapy in the counseling group did not negatively affect depression, and resilience did improve. When post-intervention differences between groups were calculated, statistically significant differences in anxiety were found, with lower scores in the counseling group (t(68) = –2.341, p = 0.022, d = 0.560).
Significance of Results:
Our study provided evidence for the efficacy of dignity therapy and counseling in improving the well-being of palliative home care patients, and it found better results in the counseling therapy group with respect to depression, resilience, and anxiety.
This study aimed to develop a new and brief instrument to be employed in dignity measurement, one based on the perceptions of patients, relatives, and professionals about dignity.
Surveys of patients receiving palliative care, family caregivers, and palliative care professionals were first carried out (sample 1). In the second step, palliative care patients were surveyed with a pilot questionnaire (sample 2). Finally, a survey design was used to assess patients admitted into a home care unit (sample 3). Sample 1 included 78 subjects, including patients, family caregivers, and professionals. Some 20 additional palliative patients participated in sample 2. Finally, 70 more patients admitted to a home care unit participated were surveyed (sample 3). Together with the Palliative Patients' Dignity Scale (PPDS), our survey included other measures of dignity, anxiety, depression, resilient coping, quality of life, spirituality, and social support.
After analyzing data from steps 1 and 2, an eight-item questionnaire was presented for validation. The new scale showed appropriate factorial validity (χ2(19) = 21.43, p = 0.31, CFI = 0.99, GFI = 0.92, SRMR = 0.07, and RMSEA = 0.04), reliability (internal consistency estimations of 0.75 and higher), criterial validity (significant correlations with the hypothesized related variables), and a cutoff criteria of 50 on the overall scale.
Significance of Results:
The new PPDS has appropriate psychometric properties that, together with its briefness, encourages its applicability for dignity assessment at the end of life.
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