Raising awareness, Dignity Action Month

Submitted by Helen Hickman, Staff Development Manager, Applegarth Healthcare, Carlisle.

"As part of ongoing training and staff development we held a 'Dignity Awareness Month' to raise awareness of the importance of treating people with dignity and respect. Looking at what 'Dignity' means and how we could ensure that it is intrinsic in our daily practice. This included the setting up of a display board in the main entrance with information about how to join the dignity campaign, how to enrol as a dignity champion, captioned cartoon image posters, the dignity challenge, the RCN what dignity means to me poster etc. We also had an enlarged picture of a Dahlia flower which we discovered is the symbol for dignity and elegance. We asked residents, visitors, families, staff, to write their thoughts and ideas about dignity in care on the petals of the flower.

Staff were also given a pocket sized, seven day, Dignity Diary. The caption on the front of the diary is a quote from the Dignity Champions Action Pack (DH 2010) Dignity is: 'A human right, not an optional extra'. Staff were asked to make at least one entry each day for five working days, identifying how they had promoted a persons' dignity. Once the diary had been completed staff were then asked to write a brief reflective account based on their diary notes. On completion the diary and reflective account were returned to me for review and based on the reviews a member of staff was identified as Applegarths' dignity Campion of the month. The staff team were informed who the dignity champion was and the dignity champion is going to be presented with a store voucher for 10.00 in recognition of their contribution to the promotion of dignity in care."