Ideas/activities to help promote dignity

susan hiscock 10/10/18 Dignity Champions forum

Hi, my manager has asked me to be a dignity champion and to think of some ideas to help promote dignity I.e if resident is having personal care etc
Many thanks

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Graeme Stark 10/10/18

Have a look at The Dignity Map on the Resources section of this website, it's a good starting point if you've not been there already.

Maggie Holliday 10/10/18 maintain dignity, make the person feel at ease. Close the door. Shut curtains. Ensure you have privacy. If the person is able leave them to wash themselves but be close to hand if they require assistance. Encourage the to wash intimate areas themselves wherever possible. Only expose areas that you are assisting to wash at any one time. For example wash and dress top half first, then the lower half.

Dawn Martin 11/10/18

Hi where abouts are you. We are in Sheffield and run a support group for activity workers can we help with this even if it is sharing our meeting the monthly sessions we share good practice and the activities we do ,we also link so that residents can make new friends..feel free to email our activities team for any info
[log in to view email address]

Sandra Reay 11/10/18

I agree with the above comments but I always find that the one thing that I see people forget to do is to ask permission before you start personal care tasks. Regardless of a persons communication ability it is still respectful to ask permission.
Other observations I have picked up if a person is supported 2-1 is that often the conversation is about what they did the night before and not a conversation that includes the person you are supporting.

mike stone 11/10/18

I am pretty-much an 'outside observer' on this one - but I really liked Sandra Reay's post.

Old forum user 11/10/18

Hi I'm an out sided too but we was trained that u never complete any personal care tasks or anything that involves them without getting permission to do so first. We would be invading there personal rights and dignity

susan hiscock 11/10/18

They are all fab examples but my manager said about stuff like making notices to hang on doors telling staff to knock and wait for an answer I having personal care etc

Maggie Holliday 11/10/18

Hi...I think we have to think outside the box's about putting yourself in the position of the service user and thinking about how you would feel.

kevin SLATER 11/10/18

Notices to knock and wait should not be required,do we have then on our bathroom doors or bedroom doors,etc, we have locks etc if required. Dignity and respect should be inherent in most human beings and in the field of care giving should be constantly underpinned in your day to day work, your approach should not change form work setting to social setting, as for permission,again this should be second nature,never assume even if you know the client well, its about choices, giving people access, providing pathways if you cannot help directly, we all have as much right to say No as well as Yes.

susan hiscock 11/10/18

I understand that but some of the staff I work with do not. Thus having the idea of the door hangers

Neil Purcell 11/10/18

Always throughout the dignity pathway should be how the patient would feel when their asking anything of us the Care givers that we might not agree with.After all if we don't agree with their requests we can change the way we think about it in order to deliver patient centred care .

David Knapp 11/10/18

At Galanos house when new residents join us we put a welcome pack in their room and when completing the first parts of their care plan ask if they would prefer a male or female carer and if I am supporting a female resident with personal care even if I have helped them before I check that they are happy for me to help.

Sandra Reay 12/10/18

If signage is what you are looking for, maybe do it in a more person centred way. Depending upon your setting I would have a keyworker or meeting and discuss what is important to each person and put that on a poster or sign, you could change the sign after each meeting if the people you support felt that it had been achieved and move onto the next goal. It needs to be person centred. I wouldn't mind a sign on my door as long as it wasn't just for show and had a real purpose.
If the people you are supporting are not able to voice what is important to them you could complete the audit too and see what you need to improve on. Some people may not want a sign, make sure there opinion on the matter is heard.

Tania Hudson 15/10/18

I deliver training in dignity and do an exercise that you could try in a team meeting...

To prepare you will need:
- Incontinence pads
- Net 'knickers'
- Gloves


- Ask everyone to pair up with someone they feel comfortable with.
- Ask them to decide which one will be the care worker and which one the client.
- Give each 'care worker' a pad, nets and gloves.
- Ask them to take their 'client' to the bathroom and change them into their pads.

You will of course have people thinking its a joke so you need to try and keep a straight face and say that its a serious and important role play activity.

After a few minutes of people feeling mortified at the prospect you let them know that they don't really have to do it BUT ask the question of how it made them feel.

The good thing is that the 'care workers' feel as mortified as the 'clients' but do they ever feel like that when supporting their real clients - if not, why not? Why do we not feel a little embarrassed helping people with their personal care - do we just think 'they are used to it' or 'don't have the capacity to understand'? My opinion is if you feel you are feeling empathy towards your client you are more likely to go the extra mile in respecting their dignity.

Another quicker activity you can do in a team meeting is to ask everyone to go into the bag or pockets of someone they are sitting next to and take out a purse / wallet / phone...

Both activities can create a good discussion...

Emma Wilson 03/04/19

Hi, I run a Dignity in Care forum every 3 months and I am slowly running out of ideas for activities or guest speakers. The activities posted above sound like a brilliant idea - does any one have any more of these they can share?

Tania Hudson 04/04/19

Hi Emma, there is a great YouTube film that creates good discussion on poor practice called 'Dignity not here'. I'll try and attach a link. The picture quality isn't great but that doesn't matter. It always creates good discussion - you are unlikely to see all the poor practice in one go (you would hope!) but if you break it down there are lots of things you may see happen in the workplace.

During discussion one thing that is rarely mentioned that I pick up on is the woman talking about wanting more time off and I ask the question - what does this say to the client? That you would rather not be there...

The other film I use is Amanda Warring's 'What do you see' - after watching I ask one group to think about how you can improve Elsie's meal time and the other group, how can you help improve her bath - that works well as an activity too :-)

Associated files and links:

Jan Burns Moderator 05/04/19

some great ideas here -another idea is to ask everyone to swap shoes and walk - even if they are the same size they will never feel the same. It is all about feelings, delivering with compassion - not walking in someones shoes, walking beside them. . Look at the TLAP [Think local Act Personal] Make it Real I and We Statements - Devised by people who use services the I statements say what people expect and the We are pointers for organisations to put in place to support achievement - they are endorsed by CQC i have just used the We statements as a survey to see where people are in delivering the person centred services.

Natalie Jones 13/05/19

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By participating on the online course, attendees will develop the knowledge and skills required deliver fun, effective and interactive Seated Exercise sessions themselves.

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Jan Charles 29/02/20

Some very good replies. Dignity is about mental as well as physical feelings. Do not assume just because someone is a patient they are unintelligent. Let them know what is going on and why and when you feel it necessary to do it. Do not invite other members of staff to watch a procedure without the patients FREE consent should apply to any setting such as outpatients, theatre, ward etc.

Ashleigh Bestwick 11/03/20

Hi has anyone got any suggestions on how to get service users involved I am am doing a display bored based around dignity but struggling ideas thanks

Tania Hudson 12/03/20

Hi Ashleigh, what about quotes from your service users around what dignity means for them? If they struggle to think, you could have a selection of ideas to get them thinking?

Carol Wilkinson 12/03/20

Hi Tania

A couple of years ago we created a 'dignity tree' in the centre I worked in. I did a regular craft /memory cafe so one of the ladies painted the tree - over 6' tall. We cut out leaf shapes and asked residents to write thoughts about what dignity meant to them. It was hugely successful and even our Mayor did a grand unveiling on our Dignity Day. Just a thought for you.

Carol Wilkinson 12/03/20

Sorry Asleigh !!!

Jan Burns Moderator 12/03/20

Hi Ashleigh lots of good suggestions here. There are some ideas in the resource section on this website. Also lots of ideas on the Dignity in action Facebook page.

Diane Moralee 13/03/20

Hi Ashleigh
We also made a dignity tree, but made the leaves their hands and they painted them then wrote on them what dignity meant to them, it was really effective.

Andrea Carruthers 25/02/21

Hello, i have just become a dignity champion which im so excited about. I am due to run my first workshop soon and would very much welcome some ideas. What i am concerned about is that i dont want to deliver a death by power point presentation, I want to keep it fun but informative and inspiring at the same time. Any ideas will be most welcome.

Joan Sirett 25/02/21

Hello Andrea,
Ideas for workshops - what about starting off with a 'dignity in care quiz', this will give you an idea of the participants knowledge. If this is your first one, ask the participants what they think the key aims of a Dignity Champion are. I also do a monthly dignity checklist (nursing and midwifery council - March 2009) asking residents to gauge residents thoughts, and this is also part of my workshops. Our residents are also not slow in coming forward so you will get lots of ideas from them. You could look at a 'philosophy' for each of your units, get the participants and residents talking about what is important on their unit. The other thing we do is ask for ideas, a few things that have come up are: 'bibbles' for those residents that require something to help with excessive dribbling. Looking at the environment, little things like making sure cushions on chairs match the chair. Storage, are residents items tidy in wardrobes. Linking in with Key Carer so that you can find out more about a resident. Listen to how a staff member talks to a resident, if there is a concern, role play. The list goes on and on once you have started.

Jan Burns Moderator 26/02/21

Do also try turning the information on the Dignity postcards on this website into a form of audit - it gives service users chance to express their thoughts on the service. The outcomes can be fed back to staff - families - CQC etc.
I have also baked a dignity cake with three different layers [like a wedding cake] They decorate and cake and define on each layer the ingredients you need to deliver quality services with dignity.
Dignity Human Bingo an A4 doc with squares stating: find someone who ........The object is to fill in the blanks with the attributes of people who deliver services with dignity. e.g. someone who is a good listener - someone who has a can do attitude - someone who gives time to others ...... and on. Just a few considerations.

Jan Charles 22/08/21

Does it boil down to just GOOD MANNERS, in a hospital in Dorchester clinic doors are often opened when patients are being treated. It should not be necessary to teach people on courses. Of course mixed wards do not help maintain dignity. Patients need to learn to assert themselves more and remember they are 'customers' who have contributed to the cost of their care over the years. I was always taught to put oneself in the patients shoes.
Patients notes discussed in the middle of wards so other patients can hear is also an affront to dignity. Report any incidences in writing to PALS
J Charles