A study looking at a single question designed to help improve care for people with an illness that cannot be cured

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking at how well a question called the Patient Dignity Question works to help health professionals in hospital look after people who need palliative care. Palliative care is care for patients whose illness cannot be cured. It includes control of pain and other symptoms, and help with psychological, social and spiritual problems.

Dignity in palliative care means helping the patient to remain in control of their wishes, have a sense of belonging and to be respected, valued and treated as an individual. Giving someone dignity is an important part of what makes palliative care work well.

To support health professionals in doing this, a question has been developed to help them understand how best to look after someone who needs palliative care. It asks the patient “What do I need to know about you as a person to take the best care of you that I can?”. This is called the Patient Dignity Question.

Researchers in this study want to test this question. Staff at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee will put this question to patients who need palliative care. They will also talk to patients about what they think of the question and how useful it is. The aim of this study is to use this information to develop better services for people having palliative care in hospital.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if you

  • Are a patient at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Need palliative care Open a glossary item.

The team will ask you to choose a family member who is over 18 to take part in this study with you. They will also recruit a health care professional who is looking after you.

Trial design

This pilot study will recruit 30 patients. Everyone will fill out 2 short questionnaires. The questionnaires will ask how much you think the hospital environment is focused on the patient. And, what you think of the attitudes of the staff caring for you.

A health care professional looking after you will then ask “What do I need to know about you as a person to take the best care of you that I can?”. They will take notes, and a member of the study team will type up your answer and read it back to you. You can then change bits to make sure you are happy with it. The researcher will ask if you are happy for them to share your response with the ward staff. If you agree, the typed response will be put in your medical and nursing notes.

You then fill out another questionnaire. Two days later you fill out the first 2 questionnaires again.

At the end of the study the team may ask if you would like to be interviewed. They will ask about

  • Your experiences of taking part in the study
  • What you think about the questionnaires
  • What you think about the Patient Dignity Question

This interview will be audio recorded. But the recording will be destroyed once the team have written the information down. They will treat this information anonymously, so no one will be able to link it to you.

The team will also ask a healthcare professional looking after you to fill out a questionnaire. They may also ask them and your family member if they would be happy to be interviewed for the study.

Hospital visits

Everyone taking part in this study will already be staying in Ninewells Hospital, so there are no extra hospital visits.

Side effects

You should not have any side effects as a result of taking part in this study.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Bridget Johnston

Supported by

Macmillan Cancer Support
NHS Tayside
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
University of Dundee

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 11296

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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