Simple Question May Raise Empathy for Terminally Ill Patients: Study

A study shows that asking patients one simple question may help the health professional develop more empathy.


A study by Canadian palliative experts shows that asking a terminally ill patient one simple question may help health professionals develop more empathy toward their patients.


Termed the “patient dignity question” (PDQ), the question is, “What do I need to know about you as a person to give you the best care possible?”


The answers provided by patients over the two years of the study are as varied and unique as the patients themselves. One patient said she was afraid of dying alone and wanted to have a staff member by her side at the time of death, while another said she had difficulty trusting doctors and was worried they would assume that she couldn’t make her own decisions. 

By Omid Ghoreishi,