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The definition of dignity is ‘the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect.’ To me there are three powerful words in this definition – quality, esteem and respect.
- Quality – A characteristic or trait, a level of excellence;
- Esteem – To consider something with favorable regard;
- Respect – To regard something with value or importance.
Dignity in care is about treating patients in a considerate way, whilst giving them choice and control.
Dignity in Care
In order to provide dignity we must believe that being treated with dignity is a basic human right, not a luxury, and the services we provide must be compassionate, patient focused and efficient. I would like to think we all want to have a positive effect on the people we care for and that providing dignity in their care ensures that right to respect and privacy and freedom and choice, regardless of their medical condition, age or disability.
Basic Human Rights Is At the Heart
Everyone comes into contact with health and social care at some point in their lives and often when they are at their most vulnerable. Dignity in the care we provide links dignity to people’s basic human rights i.e. keeping people safe, not causing harm, only necessary deprivation of liberty, free from discrimination, respect, and confidentiality. There are many resources available which explain human rights and how it links to dignity. The Equality and Human Rights Commission have produced an interactive programme called ‘Dignity Drive’. It is designed to look at what human rights mean in the context of everyday life, how they affect real people and why they are therefore so important.
If you are interested in learning more about the Dignity in Care Network, the link to their website below explains all about the National Dignity Council, how to become a Dignity Champion and how to get involved in their ‘Dignity Day’ campaign, which is usually in February each year. The campaign is about promoting a change in the culture of care services and placing a greater emphasis on improving the quality of care and the experience of people who use those services including hospitals, community services, care homes and home support providers.
Equality and Human Rights Commission – Dignity Drive:
Dignity in Care:
Alison Lowerson – QCS Expert GP Practice Manager Contributor