Skip to content

What Is Dignity In Care

May 14th, 2024

Dignity in care is a basic right that should be afforded to anyone receiving any kind of care. Care workers provide unwavering support enabling patients to live fulfilled lives; ensuring each individual is treated with respect is paramount. This is especially pertinent when transitioning into a care home setting where residents might worry that their dignity will be overlooked. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, and the promotion of dignity doesn’t demand much effort; it simply entails dedicating a little more time and consideration. Let’s explore the definition of dignity in care, and how you can demonstrate this in care services.

What Is Dignity In Care?

helping hand to show dignity in care

Dignity in care serves as an important guidepost to make sure that no matter the care environment, whether it be a residential care facility or a person’s home, respect is shown at all times.

Defining dignity can be difficult, but it generally refers to a person’s entitlement to be respected, valued and honoured. It’s a basic human right that means individuals are treated ethically and with consideration. Maintaining dignity is a fundamental aspect when providing quality care. It involves recognising the individual’s abilities, ambitions, and life experience without any actions that may undermine their self-respect. Dignity goes beyond demonstrating confidentiality and sensitivity, lending a helping hand or respecting their wishes; ultimately it’s how you make that person feel.

Why Is Dignity In Care Important?

Whether you’re offering dementia care or palliative care for a person at the end of their life, the principles remain the same. Treating people in a dignified manner is of utmost importance in care; if a patient or resident feels as though they aren’t being heard, or respected, it can prevent them from living comfortably in their environment. An individual’s identity and wishes should be at the forefront of treatment and care planning at all times. Staff training should, therefore, include how to promote dignity in care to ensure these needs are met.

Legislation Of Dignity In Care

legal document to show the legislation of dignity in care

In the UK, there are several pieces of legislation that are responsible for governing the overall care of patients and care home residents. The specific legislation that applies to each area of the UK may vary, but some of the most important laws include:

These laws aim to ensure that patients and care home residents receive high-quality care and support that meets their needs. They protect their rights and welfare which, in turn, helps with the promotion of dignity within care home settings.

What Is The Dignity In Care Initiative?

The Dignity in Care initiative was launched in November 2006 to ensure respect and dignity for individuals receiving healthcare and social services. The campaign is led by The National Dignity Council, a charity, which champions a network of people across the nation to work together to promote access to dignity in care as a basic human right.

How Many Dignity Factors Are There?

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ aspect when it comes to care. This is why a personalised care plan should be developed and tailored towards the individual’s needs and wishes. However, there are certain dignity factors that foster dignity in care to ensure that everyone is treated with the same level of care, compassion and respect.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has identified eight dignity factors and has highlighted these to create a dignity in care framework that includes:

  1. Choice and control
  2. Food and nutritional care
  3. Communication
  4. Pain management
  5. Privacy
  6. Personal hygiene
  7. Social inclusion
  8. Practical assistance

How To Promote Dignity In Care

sunset as a way to show dignity in care

Small actions that may seem insignificant can make a huge difference in maintaining dignity in care for individuals who rely on healthcare professionals. Even though these actions may seem trivial, they hold great value for someone who has given up most of their independence to someone unfamiliar. From respecting their privacy to addressing them by their preferred name or title, there are many ways to demonstrate the eight dignity factors. Let’s take a look at some examples in greater detail.

1. Choice And Control 

When it comes to how we present ourselves, we all have our own clothes and preferences. It’s important to allow residents to choose what they want to wear, as it helps maintain a sense of individuality. As a caregiver, you can help them decide by discussing clothing options with them, but the final decision should always be up to them. Many individuals enjoy being involved in the selection of their clothes as it’s a huge part of their identity, plus they like to pride themselves on their appearance, no matter the occasion. Even something as simple as being able to personalise their bedroom in a care home can help create a sense of autonomy and dignity.

2. Food And Nutritional Care

Moving into a care home can be a big adjustment, especially in regards to food and drink preferences. Residents should be offered a choice when it comes to meals in order to accommodate their preferences as much as possible. This is especially important if they have trouble eating. Mealtimes are an essential part of the day, and good nutrition is crucial for overall well being. Allowing enough time for dining so that everyone can enjoy their meal, and offering assistance when needed, is a small and simple step that really supports the promotion of dignity.

3. Communication

The promotion of dignity can be as uncomplicated as asking someone how they’d like to be addressed. Many residents prefer to be called ‘Miss’ or ‘Mr’ instead of by their first name, so avoid making assumptions and always respect their preferences. Additionally, take the time to chat with them frequently throughout the day as this helps to build a comfortable relationship, and form valuable friendships. Keep in mind not everyone communicates in the same way. If someone has speech or hearing difficulties, or if English isn’t their first language, make sure to check for understanding.

4. Pain Management

People shouldn’t have to endure pain unnecessarily, especially when it comes to conditions that aren’t part of the ageing process. This can be especially relevant in a nursing home environment. Medications can, of course, be used appropriately. However, for individuals who experience communication barriers,for example, those living with dementia, it can be difficult to articulate when they’re in pain. That’s why it’s essential for care staff to be trained to identify non-verbal indicators of distress. By recognising these signs, care workers can help ensure individuals receive the pain management and support they need to live comfortably.

5. Privacy

Maintaining privacy and confidentiality is an essential right of individuals who receive care and support. Information sharing should only be done on a ‘need to know’ basis, such as with other workers involved in their care. Sharing information with anyone else, including the person’s family or friends, without their permission is not permissible. Some dignity factors are a matter of basic respect, for example, knocking on a resident’s door before entering. This may be the care workers place of work, but it is the residents home and their room is their personalised safe space.

6. Personal Hygiene

Personal care is an integral part of every care plan however, everyone has their own preferences and comfort levels. For instance, do they want a daily shower and do they only want female care workers to assist them with bathing and dressing? It’s crucial to provide care based on the individual’s needs, not those of the caregiver or the facilities routine. Personal care can feel invasive, and so personal wishes ought to be respected at all times. This ensures dignity in care is maintained at all times, and residents receive the individualised care they deserve.

7. Social Inclusion

An excellent way to boost social inclusivity in care is by organising group activities such as crafts, quizzes or games, as these can help boost morale and give people the opportunity to socialise. Celebrating occasions such as Easter, Royal events or birthdays are also perfect opportunities to do something fun and creative for residents that can help forge inclusion. On a day-to-day basis, sitting everyone together at the table at mealtimes, where possible, allows residents to enjoy each other’s company.

8. Practical Assistance

Providing support with day-to-day tasks can help individuals avoid the need for more extensive care and enable them to maintain self-reliance. This kind of independence is essential to promote dignity in care. Practical assistance can include anything from ensuring objects are placed within reach for people with mobility constraints, to providing aids and adaptations that make life easier. Care home interiors should be carefully planned to encourage independence, with elements including signs and zones helping residents to move around freely. Lending a hand with routine tasks can also significantly improve people’s quality of life and make them feel more empowered.

What Does Dignity Mean In Health And Social Care?

bed in a hospice to show the settings where dignity factors are important

Dignity should be upheld across all care settings, such as hospitals, care homes, hospices, and home care. The aim of developing the eight dignity factors was to set guidelines for all care workers to adhere to. Through this, care homes can guarantee a level of care that everyone deserves. When people suffer with an illness or are elderly and require care, preserving their dignity is an essential factor of health and social care because they feel particularly vulnerable.

Care And Compassion At New Care Homes

New Care Homes always strive to make our residents feel comfortable and valued; it’s the little things that go a long way in building trust and strong relationships with them. We understand the power of showing compassion and kindness to everyone, it’s built into our ethos, in everything we do. 

We have a wide range of luxury care homes situated across the UK including Manchester, Cheshire, Leeds and Nottingham, all offering a variety of care services, tailored to the needs of the resident, whether that’s nursing care, dementia care, residential care or respite care. From our fine dining experiences to our lovely, stylish interiors, our homes aren’t just ‘care homes’, they’re designed to give all of our residents a homely, warm and dignified living environment. 

Experience it for yourself and give us a call to organise a visit at your nearest location or please feel free to get in touch with our team and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.