Dignity in care

Dignity and respect are fundamental aspects of person-centered care in any care setting. This is even more important for people who are elderly or are in vulnerable situations due to their physical and/or mental health condition. Dignity is also a human right and it is an essential duty of any care professional to ensure that care provided by them is of high quality, safe and maintains dignity at all times. Dignity is a complex concept and is often expressed through experiences where it was not met rather that it’s abstract definition. It includes a multitude of factors and can mean different things to different people. Being addressed appropriately, privacy, personal appearance, access to comfortable environment autonomy and freedom to make informed choice are considered to be key aspects of dignity. Despite many policies relating to this area, it has been noted that there are often situations where dignity has been compromised and this has come under scrutiny and criticism. It is also important to note that dignity for staff is equally important. Evidence suggests that if staff is treated with dignity, they in turn will treat service users with dignity and respect. Management of care providing organizations has a significant role in enhancing dignity in care settings both for its service users and staff at work. A blame free culture, robust leadership, good communication and a supportive environment are key ingredients for enabling staff to provide dignified care. No care professional sets out to provide undignified care however; lack of resources and an unsupportive workplace environment can result in inadvertent lapses in dignity in care. This presentation will look at the concept of dignity, its impact on service users and care providers and some strategies to enhance dignity in care.

Author(s): Rekha Elaswarapu

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