The Regional Dignity Leads are stepping down now and handing the dignity baton over to you.
I have been in post since August 2009 and it has been the most fantastic experience working with so many committed dignity champions. There have been many of you who have consistently helped me by sending information at short notice, keeping me up to date, helping at events and helping with projects.
The Dignity Network page on the web site is populated with examples of dignity networks across the region. This is so important to populate so that dignity champions have the opportunity of seeing where there are groups that they may like to contact in the future. Please, would all those who are facilitating meetings/forums etc where dignity is the main focus, add details of these to the national web site network page. Examples would be essence of care meetings; dignity champions support meetings, quality meetings, training sessions, resident meetings, carer support networks etc. This is really important in order to support local dignity champions and sustain and expand on the excellent work that has occurred over the last few years.
The SCIE evaluation of the dignity campaign clearly highlighted how successful the campaign has been. I think there is one particular piece of evidence that stands out for me and that is leaders emerging, often from very junior positions. I think this has happened because the campaign has empowered champions and they are so passionate about improving care.
Putting Dignity In The Heart Event
Putting Dignity at the Heart was the theme of a one-day Event held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham on 14th April 2010, attended by more than 800 people. The aim was to promote Dignity, to celebrate and share good practice, and to provide opportunities for learning. The atmosphere was positive and enthusiastic - people attended from all over the West Midlands to learn, share and listen, hoping to take something positive back to their own communities.
The format of the Event ensured a buzz of activity throughout the day, and plenty of choice for those attending to meet their own particular interests in relation to Dignity. The Event was planned to enable people to attend for all or part of the day as they were able. There were exhibitions of good practice by both individuals and organisations, a wide variety of workshops to attend, guest speakers, and supporting drama and music. Workshops included:-* Mental Capacity Act and Safeguarding
* Care Quality Commission Update
* Dignity in Care - Putting Dignity at the Heart
*Hungry to be Heard - Age UK's campaign to introduce 7 steps to stop older people becoming malnourished in hospital.
* Dignity Safeguarding - a professional view
* Dignity and Carers
* The Dignity Experience Experiential Session (demonstrating the dining experience with and without dignity input)
* Making Dignity happen
* Instant Aging - offering a simulated activity to offer a "taste" of some physical difficulties an older person might experience
* Does Personalisation= Dignity?
* Supporting dignity, independence and well being through telecare assistive technology
* Quality of Life Audits Those people registering to attend the day were invited to participate by submitting examples of good practice in relation to Dignity, in simple poster format. More than 100 posters were submitted and exhibited at the Event. The posters attracted a lot of interest, provoked discussion and provided inspiration - the evidence of so much innovative, and often simple, good practice was there for all to see and learn from. In addition, there were 60 Exhibitors, from a wide range of organisations, providing information and inspiration - there were exhibitors from Health, local Councils, voluntary organisations, organisations providing residential care, housing or community support, the Open University, the Care Quality Commission...
It was good to observe the exchange of ideas and information between different exhibitors as well as between the exhibitors and those attending the Event.
The two main speakers, Amanda Waring and Simon Weston O.B.E., each addressed the audience in the main hall in the morning, and again in the afternoon. Amanda Waring's addresses included the showing of her award winning film "What do you see" and the film" The Big Adventure" (exploring dignified end of life care). Simon Weston spoke extremely movingly of his own particular experiences in relation to
Dignity. The addresses of both speakers were very inspiring and well-received. Each address was preceded by a playing of a recording of the "Dignity Song" developed by Worcestershire County Council, and which
aims for promote the Dignity message among young people.
Throughout the day there was an ambitious rolling programme of 12 different workshops - each workshop taking place three times in order to meet the needs of those attending the Event. The workshops were run by enthusiastic and committed leaders from a wide range of organisations - the diversity of the workshops reflected the many areas of the potential impact of Dignity good practice, and most workshops were well attended and well received.
In the middle of the day, AFTAThought enacted dramatic scenarios in order to highlight the important role of Dignity Champions. These scenarios were very poignant, bringing home the Dignity message in a particularly powerful way.
There has been much positive feedback from the Event, and it is good to hear that there have been a significant number of approaches to workshop leaders and exhibitors for further information and materials after the Event - the learning continues!
Perhaps the success of the day is best summed up by the simple comment of a young person overheard as she was leaving the Event at the end of the day:
" I can't believe how much I have learned today! I have learned SO much! I am so glad I came"