Dignity in Care: Four new videos

13 November 2014

Everyone who receives care and support deserves dignity and respect. Four new videos are launched today on Social Care TV, looking at four important aspects of dignity in care. Research indicates that there are eight main factors that promote dignity in care. Each of these Dignity Factors contributes to a person's sense of self respect, and they should all be present in care.

The videos, from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), look at the following four Dignity Factors, with more videos coming in the New Year:

  • Choice and control
  • Privacy
  • Communication
  • Social inclusion.

The videos have been made to support anyone who provides care and support, from paid carers through to family members, in any care setting.

The importance of dignity

The videos show dignity in care in practice. This can mean giving someone the choice between mince with dumplings or roast chicken, at meal-time in a care home. It can mean encouraging the use of a diary system for a young man with a learning disability, so that he effectively communicates with staff. It can mean supporting people to open and answer their mail, without compromising their privacy. And it can mean discussing a recent football match so that someone feels less isolated and more included.

The above examples are included in the four videos that are launched today at the Care England conference in London. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is now inspecting all adult social care services in England to see if they are caring; this means that staff involve and treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. SCIE can provide improvement support, consultancy and training.

Case study: Food preparation

In the video about providing choice and control, some young men with learning disabilities who live in a shared house, draw up their preferred shopping list, travel to town unsupported, budget for and buy the food, come back and cook it; and then eat it. One of the recommendations in the video is that people should be supported to do things for themselves rather than having things done for them. Research also suggests that it's important to take time to understand and know the person, their previous lives and past achievements, and to support people to develop things like ‘life story books'. If you treat people as equals, you can make sure they remain in control of what happens to them. Staff should get to know the people they support so that they know what their needs and preferences are.

Communication, privacy and social isolation

Good communication in practice can mean asking people how they prefer to be addressed and to respect their wishes; giving people information about the service in advance and in a suitable format; and not assuming that you know what people want because of their culture, ability or any other factor. Promoting privacy can mean making sure that a confidentiality policy is in place and followed by all staff; making issues of privacy and dignity a fundamental part of staff induction and training; and making sure that only those who need information to carry out their work have access to people's personal records or financial information. Social inclusion, in practice, means doing things such as promoting and supporting access to social networks; or resolving transport issues so that they do not prevent people from participating in the wider community.

Sharon Hedley, Manager, Laverneo Care Home describes how one of her residents, Valerie, regularly goes to a cookery class. Sharon says:

We were going along to support Valerie in the sessions, but now her confidence has built up and she’s made friendships so we can leave her there and come back to collect her later.

In the video, Valerie proudly shows off her certificate of achievement.

SCIE’s Chief Executive, Tony Hunter, says:

There are many ways of promoting dignity in care. Perhaps an obvious area is privacy, and it’s great we have a video about this. But it’s also about things like preventing social isolation. In providing Valerie with vital social interaction, the care home is increasing her feelings of self-worth and dignity. The four videos are full of great practical examples of how dignity in care can be promoted.

The videos also show how dignity can be promoted in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, where cultural considerations can be attended to.

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