Leicestershire Dignity Champions

Added on 23/09/2008

Mary McCausland (Older People's Service Manager)

Leicester City Council

LCC is working in partnership with Leicester City PCT, other NHS organisations and the independent and voluntary sector to develop a coordinated approach to a dignity programme in the city.

Following a recent meeting next steps are being considered by commissioners, and a programme of training will be sought across the care community to develop the dignity in care challenges into a quality assurance 'kitemark' for providers.

Within the Council itself, an audit of services has been completed. The Regulation and Investigation Officer (working to the Responsible Individual for in-house provider services) uses the dignity in care agenda as a measurement tool in assessing the quality of in-house and in some cases, external care provision. Issues are raised with management for action plans to be developed to address any shortcomings. In addition she undertakes quality assurance work with clients, relatives and staff, considering the results in light of the dignity theme.

The audit identified that our own care provider services have working practices that support the dignity of users. However as the partnership work progresses, the Council will ensure that staff are trained as part of the community wide programme, to become more visible champions of dignity. All trained staff will receive 'Older Persons Champion' status and be enabled to wear the national badge, with its tree symbol. One of the key benefits that Leicester perceives to come from working as a community is the opportunity to raise local public awareness of the dignity badge and to feel confident in identifying champions in all care settings, so that their views / comments / concerns can be shared in confidence.


Fraser Underwood - Dignity Champion

University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust National Service Framework for Older People leads started to explore beyond a board level commitment to older peoples champions and think about how a step change in cultural attitudes and practices could be made across its workforce; to develop a more empowered workforce prepared to stand up for the interests of older people and committed to improving their care experiences across our hospitals.

Launched in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland's Older Peoples Month, September 2005, the network grew, exceeding the original target of training 50 Older People's Champion by April 2006 and 200 Champions by the end of that year.

On the back of the successful network that really started raising the profile and standards of care older peoples receive in the acute hospitals - DSOP, The Directorate of Services for Older People was formed. DSOP is a virtual directorate, working with internal and external partners to deliver the full ambitions of the NSF. To do this a committed, fully functioning and effective Older Peoples Champions Network is vital. The Directorate committed to growing and better supporting this network. Now at over 850 champions across its hospitals, DSOP's ambition is to reach 1000 champions or 10% of the hospitals workforce by this autumn.

Growth has been just one element of the network success; supporting and mainlining momentum and impact is another. To this end the Directorate has established a successful internal website containing over fifty pages of information for its champions. Every month a special Champion's update is loaded on the website containing new and relevant information on policy, news and events relating to older people, within UHL and outside each Champion and receives an email alert to let them know of the update. The website has developed as a result of champion feedback on what they need to support them in their role. Corporate training events are also offered to reward champions and continue to build their skills and knowledge to care better for older people in our services. In the past these have focused on dignity and dementia awareness for example.

The DSOP hosts an annual celebration event, last year it awarded a 'champion of champions' award too, along with regular corporate training events directed at supporting champions in their role, over this last twelve months the training has focused on 'The Dignity Challenge' and raising dementia awareness.

In November 2006, working in partnership with De Montfort University's School of Nursing the network grow and champions training is now offered to every student nurse. The Schools has a support structures to enable students and a lecturers to encourage better care for older people. And in September 2007 Leicestershire County Council joined the growing network and focusing of 'dignity in care' expanded it to the care home sector across the county.

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

Within the Trust dignity is held in high regard and this can be seen within all new developments, for example the aims of the 2012 vision, the development of a nursing strategy and achieving foundation Trust status. All of these developments have the dignity of the people we offer care to at the heart there message, by ensuring a person centred locally based service. Current services are in all areas striving to ensure all patients, carers and other members of staff are afforded the same degrees of dignity.

The Trust is promoting the role of the Dignity Champion and has a number of people who have already signed up to this initiative

The Trust can show a number of good initiatives that reflect this idea.

We are working closely with our partner organisations on a number of issues and most significantly, is the robust policy for safeguarding vulnerable people. This process includes joint and multi-agency training, reporting and referral processes

In the recent audit on single sex accommodation the Trust showed a positive response in all areas and is working to ensure that the areas that where shown as satisfactory are excellent. A re audit will take place in November.

The work of the Trust Advisory Group (a service user and carers forum) to ensure that all development within the Trust have been discussed and shared with the service users and or carers. This group is strongly linked to the PPI and PALS agendas.

In all the inpatient services we are offering

  • Protected meal times,
  • Star ward initiative
  • Ward patient forums and carers surgeries
  • Involvement of patients and their carers in all aspects of decisions about care, including involvement in ward rounds and CPA reviews.

In the community

  • Involvement in reviews
  • Having a multi agency approach to care, with partner agencies, for example working with direct payments and on going assessments particularly in the care of the older person.
  • Development of a pathway through acute hospitals for patients with a Learning disability.

Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire County Council has established a champion's network to promote 'Dignity in Care' initially targeted in care homes across the county. The aim of this network is to support and share best practice across the sector and reward and recognise those staff that 'go the extra mile'. Care homes have been asked to commit to a 'Dignity in Care' charter, and individuals are provided with a role description with a view to supporting them to improve services for older people. An accreditation programme has been established to ensure that the values and aims successfully established by UHL are not diluted and that all champions are committed to promoting dignity and respect in their services.

The first in a series of bi-annual themed focus events has been held which are designed to promote good practice on specific areas of service delivery linked into the dignity challenges. Good practice guidance has been shared with champions by relevant professionals in the appropriate themed area (5th June event focused on Food and Nutrition and included support from the SALT team and the Leicestershire Nutrition and Dietetic Service).

There are a number of plans that they are in the process of aiming to achieve including:

  • Information on the County Councils website regarding Dignity in Care - this in part has already been established but needs to be developed further to support Champions in their place of work.
  • The awards and recognition scheme - this will be a locally accessible for all Champions and service providers committed to out Dignity Charter and will be loosely based on the health and social care awards scheme.
  • Accreditation of Champions from OPEN (Older People's Engagement Network) to aid with the validation of the awards scheme and in the future to conduct peer reviews of services.
  • Joint newsletter with UHL - this is planned for distribution in August/September 2008.
  • A further 'sign up' event targeted at those care home providers who did not sign up to the campaign in November 2007 and also with domiciliary care agencies contracted with the County Council will be held in September 2008.

A DVD to raise awareness and information regarding Dignity in Care is being developed - it is envisaged that this will consist of 3 chapters: 1. A short film of a poem wrote by Sue Eato and read out at our initial launch event. 2. The Leicestershire Approach to Dignity in Care promoting the Older People's Champions network. 3. Older people's experiences and aspirations.