Dignity, Older People & Home Care in Newcastle

Dignity and Home Care in Newcastle

Between April - August 2008, MA student Louise Reeve carried out research into what dignity means for both older people in Newcastle who receive care at home, and care workers who provide it. She did this as part of her Masters degree in Applied Policy Research at Newcastle University, for which she was awarded a Distinction. She says:

"I wanted to explore what dignity meant for older people getting home care, because I think that, given the increasing numbers of older people in the population, and the emphasis now on making sure people get personalised care, home care is going to become even more important in the future than it is now.

I did my research by talking to five older people in Newcastle who receive home care, and five care workers from Care at Home. The main findings from our discussions were:

· The importance of "dignity as empathy": Giving someone dignified care means taking the time to put yourself in their place and see how things look from their point of view.

· The importance of respecting older people's autonomy: Making sure that care respects older people's choices - whether this is as big as the choice to stay in their own home with the support of care services, or as small as deciding whether or not to put the washing machine on.

  • That care workers and older people are generally happy with the Care at Home service, although they sometimes wish that care workers could have more time to spend with their clients if this would be possible.

My findings have been passed on to staff involved in providing Care Services to help inform decision-making. I hope that my findings will be useful to them, and I would like to thank all the older people and care workers who took the time to help me, and the staff in Adult Services who supported my research.

The full report is below

If you would like to contact Louise to discuss her research findings, she can be contacted by telephone on: 0191 277 7508, or by email at: louise.reeve@newcastle.gov.uk.