West Midlands Dignity Tour 23rd Feb 2009

Added on 24/02/2009
Updated on 13/05/2010

The previous Care Services Minister visited the Barberry Centre, Birmingham to complete his final visit of the National Dignity Tour. This visit was initially postponed for the Ministers first day in Office.

The previous Care Services Minister was greeted by Jonathon Lloyd, Director of strategic delivery & Karen Martin, Deputy Chief Executive. The Minister was given a tour of the Edgbaston-based facility which is one of the largest mental health facilities in Europe. The Minister met with users & care workers whilst experiencing the state of the art facilities including the deaf services & mother & baby unit.

The previous Care Services Minister then joined 10 others in a round table discussion about dignified care. Linda Playford, Nurse Consultant explained to the Minister how a small steering group was set up to enable dignity to be embraced in the facility. They identified that it was easy to see what dignity is when it isnt being received, but much harder to recognize when it is being received. They broke down Dignity in Mental Health into three categories: Dignity of Identity, Dignity of Merit & Dignity of moral status.

The trust now incorporates an element of Dignity in all its inductions & when matrons are trained there is a large emphasis on Dignity.

A number of examples where dignity has been improved were discussed including gaps between bathroom doors & the frame, how staff talk to each other in the presence of patients, and the personal touches such as looking into somebody's eyes when talking to them. A discussion was had around asking patients questions & how vital it is that questions are asked rather than assumptions made. An example of this was if a patient needs observation throughout the night, actually asking the patient if they want their door left open and the staff to come straight in or if the patient would prefer that the staff knocked each time. This leaves the patient feeling in much more control. Other examples of where it is good to ask questions rather than assume is to ask a patient if it is OK to sit on their bed, or if it is OK to touch them. Everyone at the discussion felt these were important in providing a dignified service.

Before staff moved into the new facility at Edgbaston all were required to complete a 2 day training event, called 'the passport' this event focused on the patient as a customer & what delivering customer centred care entails. The idea of this course was to ensure staff understood that without completing this training they were not fully equipped to start work in the new facility.