Sir Michael Parkinson's Sofa Chat with Dignity Champions

Sir Michael Parkinson will today return to his famous chair to interview three people about dignity in care and discuss how ordinary people can inspire others to treat those in care with the dignity they deserve.

At an event in Covent Garden, his interviewees will be:

  • Barbara Pointon, an Ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society
  • Barbara Dearnley, an 80-year-old woman who has been involved in the 'Improving the Care of the Older Person' project at Kings College Hospital
  • Amanda Waring, an actress who produced the short film 'What do you see' to raise awareness about how we treat older people.

Over the past six months, in his role as Dignity Ambassador, Sir Michael Parkinson has met with Dignity Champions and older people. He has been listening to older people receiving care services and Dignity Champions to find out what constitutes best practice, how to share that practice and where improvements can be made to ensure everyone receiving care is treated with dignity and respect.

They have seen a number of initiatives, such as:

  • activities which help staff provide more personalised care for people with dementia
  • menus with pictures so that residents can see what they are ordering
  • curtains around beds which were improved to increase privacy
  • protected meal times.

Since Sir Michael joined the Dignity in Care campaign in May this year the numbers of Dignity Champions across the country has almost tripled to more than 4,000.

Today, Sir Michael Parkinson will be meeting around 200 Dignity Champions, which include nurses, care home staff, voluntary sector workers, porters, council staff and managers in health and social care. All of them are committed to making a difference to the way in which older people are treated in care. What they do in their roles as Dignity Champions varies widely but what they all share is a commitment to making a difference, however small, to the way older people experience care.

Dignity Ambassador Sir Michael Parkinson said:

'Hopefully I can use my role as Dignity Ambassador to make a real difference and ensure the issue of dignity move to the heart of all NHS and care services.'

Anyone wanting to recognise the dedication of an individual or team who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve patient dignity in care, can nominate them for the People's Award for Dignity in Care. Local nominees will be put forward for the nine regional awards and one overall winner will then be chosen by panel of national judges.