Respecting dignity

Dignity covers all aspects of daily life, including respect, privacy, autonomy and self-worth. While dignity may be difficult to define, what is clear is that people know when they have not been treated with dignity and respect. Dignity is about interpersonal behaviours as well as systems and processes.

The resources in this section, help to promote the things that matter in respecting the dignity of service users and provide information to help people take action on dignity locally.

The following are some examples from people when they felt their dignity was not respected:

  • Feeling neglected or ignored whilst receiving care
  • Being made to feel worthless or a nuisance
  • Being treated more as an object than a person
  • Feeling their privacy was not being respected during intimate care, e.g., being forced to use a commode in hospital rather than being provided with a wheelchair and supported to use the bathroom
  • A disrespectful attitude from staff or being addressed in ways they find disrespectful, e.g., by first names
  • Being provided with bibs intended for babies rather than a napkin whilst being helped to eat
  • Having to eat with their fingers rather than being helped to eat with a knife and fork
  • Generally being rushed and not listened to.