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1.  Dignity in the care of older people – a review of the theoretical and empirical literature 
BMC Nursing  2008;7:11.
Background
Dignity has become a central concern in UK health policy in relation to older and vulnerable people. The empirical and theoretical literature relating to dignity is extensive and as likely to confound and confuse as to clarify the meaning of dignity for nurses in practice. The aim of this paper is critically to examine the literature and to address the following questions: What does dignity mean? What promotes and diminishes dignity? And how might dignity be operationalised in the care of older people?
This paper critically reviews the theoretical and empirical literature relating to dignity and clarifies the meaning and implications of dignity in relation to the care of older people. If nurses are to provide dignified care clarification is an essential first step.
Methods
This is a review article, critically examining papers reporting theoretical perspectives and empirical studies relating to dignity. The following databases were searched: Assia, BHI, CINAHL, Social Services Abstracts, IBSS, Web of Knowledge Social Sciences Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Citation Index and location of books a chapters in philosophy literature. An analytical approach was adopted to the publications reviewed, focusing on the objectives of the review.
Results and discussion
We review a range of theoretical and empirical accounts of dignity and identify key dignity promoting factors evident in the literature, including staff attitudes and behaviour; environment; culture of care; and the performance of specific care activities. Although there is scope to learn more about cultural aspects of dignity we know a good deal about dignity in care in general terms.
Conclusion
We argue that what is required is to provide sufficient support and education to help nurses understand dignity and adequate resources to operationalise dignity in their everyday practice. Using the themes identified from our review we offer proposals for the direction of future research.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-7-11
PMCID: PMC2483981  PMID: 18620561
2.  Design and performance of a multi-centre randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation of joint tele-consultations [ISRCTN54264250] 
Background
Appropriate information flow is crucial to the care of patients, particularly at the interface between primary and secondary care. Communication problems can result from inadequate organisation and training, There is a major expectation that information and communication technologies may offer solutions, but little reliable evidence. This paper reports the design and performance of a multi-centre randomised controlled trial (RCT), unparalleled in telemedicine research in either scale or range of outcomes. The study investigated the effectiveness and cost implications in rural and inner-city settings of using videoconferencing to perform joint tele-consultations as an alternative to general practitioner referral to the hospital specialist in the outpatient clinic.
Methods
Joint tele-consultation services were established in both the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust in inner London, and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals Trust, in Shropshire. All the patients who gave consent to participate were randomised either to joint tele-consultation or to a routine outpatients appointment. The principal outcome measures included the frequency of decision by the specialist to offer a follow-up outpatient appointment, patient satisfaction (Ware Specific Questionnaire), wellbeing (SF12) and enablement (PEI), numbers of tests, investigations, procedures and treatments.
Results
A total of 134 general practitioners operating from 29 practices participated in the trial, referring a total of 3170 patients to 20 specialists in ENT medicine, general medicine (including endocrinology, and rheumatology), gastroenterology, orthopaedics, neurology and urology. Of these, 2094 patients consented to participate in the study and were correctly randomised. There was a 91% response rate to the initial assessment questionnaires, and analysis showed equivalence for all key characteristics between the treatment and control groups.
Conclusion
We have designed and performed a major multi-centre trial of teleconsultations in two contrasting centres. Many problems were overcome to enable the trial to be carried out, with a considerable development and learning phase. A lengthier development phase might have enabled us to improve the patient selection criteria, but there is a window of opportunity for these developments, and we believe that our approach was appropriate, allowing the evaluation of the technology before its widespread implementation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-3-1
PMCID: PMC65515  PMID: 11835692
3.  Medical Ethics 
Journal of Medical Ethics  1998;24(5):351-352.
PMCID: PMC1377616

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