Dignity Action Day 2015

With precisely 200 activities registered through the website we can be proud of our impact across the country.

Here are just a few of the activities undertaken by our Champions in celebration of Dignity Action Day this year. There are plenty more on our Facebook page to check out.

The National Dignity Council would like to express their heartfelt thanks to all those who took the trouble to arrange an event to highlight the principles of Dignity and look forward to hearing stories of how Dignity Action Day was just the beginning of an ongoing change in culture and approach as well as a celebration of what has already been achieved.

Please also visit our Memory book page to add to the activities that have happened in 2015

One Person's View

This is an extract from a conversation with a resident by the betterlivesleeds (opens new window) team held during a Dignity Action Day event:

How do the staff support you?

What I like most is that the carers talk to you like you are an ordinary person, not as if you are someone who is daft or has something wrong with them. It is what I want and what I do. I have seen the memory of one of my friends worsen and each day she now asks the same question. But you mustn't change how you treat people.

Do you feel in control of your life?

Staff must recognise you have a choice as to whether you do something. On the other side of the building, there are lots of activities going on, but it is up to me whether I join in. I do crosswords every day, usually from the paper. I didn't used to like them because I didn't know how to go about them, but I find I am quite good at them now. My former husband and I ring each other up if stuck. He delivers [the] paper every morning and will get anything else I need, or move anything around the apartment if needed.

What does dignity mean to you?

You feel there is real respect. The staff are so polite, they always knock, never just walk in. When they are with you there is relaxed banter. It makes you comfortable. The one thing I would say is that I would not want to be anywhere else.

Thanks Kim for telling us what dignity means to you

BBC Radio Wiltshire, and More!

Our Chair, Jan Burns had a very busy time around Dignity Action Day! She was invited to give an interview on BBC Radio Wiltshire; took part in an event organised by the Lancashire Workforce Development Partnership in Preston; had an article in the Daily Mail; took part as a panellist in the Staffordshire Dignity Awards judging; and Valentines Day afternoon saw a group of young people gather for Digni-Tea and entertain with songs and readings from their 'kindness books'.

More on the above is on our Facebook Page

The Balloons went up all over the country!

Balloon launch at Broom CroftOn 2nd of Feb, Hopwood Court Retirement Home held our dignity day by each of our residents that could and wanted to take part in writing a personal message to loved ones that are or have been close to their hearts in their lives. We then dressed up warm and all held a balloon out side , made a final wish and let go of them all together. We stood for a while and watched them disappear into the sky above us. They were very pretty balloons which our residents liked very much. Our residents liked the idea that their loving thoughts , wishes may end up going to loved ones in heaven. Sue MacFarlane, Activities Coordinator.

We celebrated Dignity awareness event from Broom Croft House in Sheffield . A balloon for each one of our 64 residents had their name attached. Thanks, Joanne Haritou, Activities Co-Ordinator.

Something for the 'Culture Vultures!?'

St bedes choirSt. Bede's College Manchester - Choir visits

On Tuesday (3rd Feb), we were invited to sing at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and Wyncourt nursing home in Altricham. At the nursing home, not only did the students sing fantastically, but they had the opportunity to meet the residents and talk to them.

It was clear from our visit that the motto of Dignity in Care, 'Dignity in the heart, mind and actions' is upheld at the home by the extraordinary staff who work tirelessly to ensure that the 36 residents are happy and comfortable. The day was an unforgettable experience for all involved, the pupils were brilliant representatives of the school and hopefully we will be able to raise money and awareness for the fantastic Dignity in Care over the coming year.

Victoria Lodge Residential Home at Brierley Hill held a cultural Dignity day with a Classical pianist Jean- Claude Meurisse. He is a fifteen year old classical pianist currently studying at the conservatoire in Birmingham. This was followed by high tea and the cakes were made by relatives The staff were in evening dress.

Ritson Lodge held an afternoon concert with "High Tea" being served and music by the string quartet - Scintillo, who played a mix of classical and light tunes to suit all tastes. During the interval staff and guests were invited to read dignity related poems, thoughts and memories to all attending.

More Activities We've Heard About

Sutton groupThe Great Sutton Group Practice Patient Participation Group Event was held on Wednesday morning (4th) at St John's Church Hall in Great Sutton and was called Healthy Starts for Parents and Toddlers. It was run in conjunction with National Dignity Week, and the teas served were "Digni-Teas". It was wonderful to see the parents and grandparents, comfortable in their own environment, and with their friends around them, happily chatting to the health professionals - the picture of them all sitting on the ground says it all.

Manor House Digni-treeStaff at The Manor House in Alkborough, North Lincolnshire gave out sample menus so everybody had a choice of what they would like to have for lunch. These included ; Friendship Fish & Chips, and Privacy Chicken Pie! We decided to create a 'Digni-tree', and the service users thought and wrote what dignity means to them on their own individual apple. We decided to make the tree really big so everybody could see it. Staff worked really hard to create the tree out of wood, even roping in family members to help. We then printed out some woodland creatures to make the tree look nicer.

We also carried on the 'Digni-Tree' Theme by buying and planting our very own apple tree in the garden. As the tree grows and the apples appear it will be a lasting reminder of our Dignity Day.

Elizabeth Court

Elizabeth-courtDignity Action Day at Elizabeth Court was a huge success this year. We had a group of singers who sang songs from every era ranging from 1920's through to 1960's. Some of the staff and relatives dressed up and everyone enjoyed tea and cakes. Some of our residents were able to get up and have a dance in our specially prepared ball room, which included glitter balls, sensory lights and sparkles.

As it was Valentine's Day the day after, we also put up decorations and love heart lights and every spouse received a Valentine's card and chocolate.

Everyone enjoyed the day and even the group commented on how nice it had been for them

What happened in Derbyshire.

Across Derbyshire we know that National Dignity Action Day was celebrated in many ways. Here is a sample of what happened on or around 1st February 2015.
Countywide Events:
26 January: Additional Dignity Award Assessment, Buxton - a north of County venue was chosen to attract new Dignity Award assessors. We did so but still did not manage to get up to date with assessing applications as interest in applying is so high.
29 January: Bronze Dignity Award Workshop South Normanton - for anyone interested in working towards the Derbyshire bronze dignity award. Not quite what we wanted - heavy snow resulted in a postponement until 27 February.
5 February: Silver Dignity Award Workshop Matlock - for bronze award holders interested in working towards the Derbyshire silver dignity award. This booked up twice over so was repeated on 9 and 23 February.

Morton Grange Care Home, Alfreton

Three staff members became 'residents' for the morning to understand what it is like to be a resident and if they felt that they were treated with dignity and respect. During this time they experienced what it is like to be fed, hoisted and not being able to vocalise needs.
In the afternoon they held a 'Digni-tea' and invited relatives and staff members along to hear how the staff members' morning went. Richard Milner from Derbyshire Adult Care, and a keen supporter of the Derbyshire Dignity Campaign, joined the Digni-tea to lead a discussion.
This focused on how dignity can be promoted; common practices that are hindering dignity; recognising dignity is unique to each individual - how and examples.

N. E. Derbyshire Supported Living Team/ Paid & Voluntary Employment Service

Derbyshire Group_DAD_2015Two teams together organised a Digni-tea outing for 20 people with a learning disability at a local garden centre. Apart from having a nice cream tea cards were completed to start a 'dignitree' which will inform the services ahead. The garden centre staff made adjustments to ensure that everyone had a full customer experience. The event also spawned ideas about the two participating teams devising an idea for the silver dignity award.

Valley View Day Service

Valley View held a "digni-tea fun day". They sent out posters to the local GP's & mobile wardens to invite older people in the community to join them.
The activities on offer that day were curling, skittles, bowls, dominoes, quizzes & hand massages with manicures & polish. As well as the activities the Manager gave a talk on "Dignity", giving examples about the ten key points; what it means and how we they are used in the work done at Valley as well as how people should be treated with dignity & respect at the hospital, doctors etc . The theme of "hydration" was promoted on the day by having a hydration quiz and prompting people to drink the numerous beverages which were left out during the day on the tables. People had a lovely cream tea to finish off the day. Some photos were taken. .
People were asked to complete an evaluation sheet about how they found the day, resulting in comments such as:
"It was nice mixing and meeting everybody also joinin gin the games. Had a lovely time thank up"
Another positive from that day - 3 of the visitors have decided to self-fund places at the day centre.

Riverside Assessment Unit for People with Dementia, Bakewell

The team took a display promoting dignity and respect in dementia care to Bakewell Co-op, commenting "Thought we would go out to the public as we struggle nowadays with the numbers of people we come into contact with directly"
Derbyshire Service for Deaf People Team
The team started café mornings at new venues in Swadlincote and Chesterfield in recognition of national dignity action day. This was to build on existing venues in the County. They all have the underpinning aim of making the café's accessible and suitable to include people with sensory loss but they vary to suit the area/venue/volunteers.

Derbyshire Service for Deaf People Team

The team started café mornings at new venues in Swadlincote and Chesterfield in recognition of national dignity action day. This was to build on existing venues in the County. They all have the underpinning aim of making the café's accessible and suitable to include people with sensory loss but they vary to suit the area/venue/volunteers.
Harmony Care and Support Ltd

Harmony Care and Support Ltd

Harmony Home Care held a dignity week in February using the dignity tree concept and staff participated and placing comments on leaves on the tree.

Autumn Grange Care Home, Cresswell

On the day at Autumn Grange they started with crafting making love hearts for Valentines Day, Bingo ,High tea- sandwiches scones and cakes and followed by a singer. They made a large frame with the photos showing all the events.

Cedar Court Care Home, Bretby

They made 30th January their Dignity Day on the general unit. The event had been advertised by poster and newsletter but on the day it snowed, the care home was difficult to reach, greatly reducing attendance.
Despite this the service users spent a wonderful day totally being "pampered". Extra staff on duty ensured time was spent with everyone. Music was played, hand and foot massage done; nail care and activities were held throughout the whole of the day.
The unit was filled with fresh flowers and a selection of fancy cakes and refreshments available for everyone.
The ten "dignity do's" were displayed as the petals of a flower.
Staff who are dignity champions wore their badges and discussed what dignity meant to people. The Dignity tree took pride of place with hearts hung from it and people's thoughts written on them.
"A day to remember" said Manager Marie Pickering

Chesterfield Care Group (Day Services)

Chesterfield Care Group held a tea dance which was free for their service users and members of the public to attend. This was outside day care hours 4pm-6pm. They hired a musician who played through the evening. The medium of music and dance provokes so many memories, thoughts and feelings that are meaningful to each person supported.
It was a great success enjoyed by all.

New Hall Bungalow, Swadlincote (people with Learning Disabilities)

They have started a Sensory Room are collating information from the clients and their family/carers around individual sensory needs. They are already receiving information that we have not had previously.
They intend to provide a service tailored to each client and enabling them to gain their silver dignity award.

Creative Support Services, Buxton (Home Care)

Derbyshire Creative Support_DAD_2015Creative Support Services have held a Dignity tea event for their staff and clients.

It was a chance for everyone to get together and enjoy an afternoon of tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. There was a raffle with gifts supplied by many local businesses and clients. The event raised £228 for the Alzheimer's Society. Anna Bond the registered Manager said she hoped that this will be the first of many such events and that as well as raising money for a worthwhile cause it also enabled many clients a chance to break up their day and a chance to get out and meet new people.

They are also making a dignity wall at the office, sending clients a leaf for them to write on with what is important to them to highlight this to the staff team.

Poems by Adam Probert

A series of poems around the theme of Dignity posted on our Facebook page recently. Our thanks to Adam for permission to reproduce them here.

Dignity: The importance of family and friends
I don't know where my family are or if they know how to find me
I hope that they still love me I wish they'd come to remind me
I used to be so dashing I'd have turned your head I wager
But now I am unshaven I have no soap or razors?
My few clothes don't fit me well my hair is left unkempt?
From family get-togethers I find myself exempt?
I lie here alone at night staring at the stars?
My room is full of children's pictures but I don't know who they are
You'd think you where the parent and that I was the child?
Will you have time for me now? Will your actions be selfless?
As mine where for you when you where so vulnerable and helpless?
Will you learn from my wisdom?
As arm in arm along we plod?
Or am I just an inconvenience waiting here for god ?
By Adam Probert 20/7/13

Born Free
Dedicated to the service personnel who served and gave their lives and to everyone who lived through the Second World War.

You upped and left your homes and kin, and daily lives serene
To defy the greatest evil, that the world has ever seen
You stood firm despite the odds, showing bravery beyond distinction?
You where prepared to lay down your lives, to save us from extinction?
To those who walked the trenches, and sailed in ocean fleets?
And those who could drop a bomb in a barrel, from ten thousand feet ?
You did not shirk nor hesitate, you gallantly fought the fight
To ensure we did not go, quietly into the night ?
Cometh the hour cometh the men, you held history in your hands
To preserve the continuation, of this green and pleasant land
And to those who did not come home, all they had they gave?
You shall live forever young, in the hearts of those you saved?
Selflessly and without thought, you stood proud come what may?
And gave your tomorrow, so we might have today
Compared to the hardships you endured, we have no trouble or strife?
I think about you every day, and thank you for my life.
Adam Probert 18/1/14

Part 2 The Manor House- Welcome!
Welcome to the Manor House, is how our staff will greet you
Please come in from the cold, it's so lovely to meet you
Both social and more private people, here do reside
Going about their daily lives, living happily inside?
We shall endeavour, to meet your needs with haste?
Satisfy your preferences and accommodate your tastes?
We hope that you'll direct your care; we'll follow where you lead us
We'll help you build your confidence, and assist you when you need us?
Friends and family are always at the end of the phone?
We'll help you personalise your room to make the space your own?
With activities, trips and visiting times without restriction?
We hope that lack of spare time; will be your worst affliction ?In time when you are settled, we hope that you will see?
Yourself as one of us, part of our family
Though memories may linger, and at times your thoughts may roam
We hope this won't just be where you live; we hope you'll call it home?
By Adam Probert

Just because I can't talk it doesn't mean that I can't hear
Your conversation topics or your footsteps when you're near
I hope you'll still address me I'm no leper or respondent
Neither am I a sack of spuds that thought leaves me despondent
Just because I can't talk it doesn't mean that I can't see
Your manner and expressions when you attend to me
Just because I can't talk it doesn't mean that I can't feel
If you are heavy handed my pain is very real
I wish that I could tell you how I lived my life with grace
Remember that if something isn't right you'll see discomfort on my face
Sometimes I feel trapped from this shell I can't escape
Please hold my hand and smile that's how I communicate
Just because I can't talk it doesn't mean that I can't taste
Please help me enjoy my meal I've never let food go to waste
I like my tea strong and sweet I'm particular though you might not think it
If it looks like dishwater ask yourself if you would drink it
Just because I can't talk it doesn't mean that I can't smell
A spray and mint after your cigarette would be wonderful aswell
A bit of my favourite scent brings solace amidst the gloom
And I've always loved the smell of fresh flowers in my room
I used to have a singing voice I never thought I'd lose it
Before you leave my room will you please turn on my music?
When I hear those songs I can escape from now to then
It takes my breath away and makes me young again
By Adam Probert 16/10/14