Shahed Mayet, Dignity Champion, Milen Day Centre, Batley

Shahed Mayet is the Manager of the Milen Day Centre which throughout the week provides day care for 106 Asian elders in Batley, West Yorkshire. The centre, which has a care philosophy that recognises the individual their history, prides itself on providing a service that is both sensitive and appropriate to the needs of its members so the organisation was more than ready to meet The Dignity Challenge.

Says Shahed Mayet:

"Dignity in Care is at the heart of everything we do - which is exactly as it should be. It's not rocket science - everyone has a basic right to be treated with respect.

"It sounds like a cliché but 'treat others as you would want to be treated' was our starting point and we have worked hard to raise awareness with staff by training and sharing best practice. It was quickly apparent that this was something we should be doing and we looked first to the many little ways in which we can show respect for people's dignity, self-esteem and right to privacy.

"The Asian community values its older generation and this fundamental principle does shine through in our day to day work. We encourage our staff to stop and think about the way they talk to, and deal with our members. It may only be a matter of not being too casual in the way we approach service users but any minor humiliation and a loss of dignity is just not acceptable. Once it was explained to them, our staff embraced these principles wholeheartedly.

"Similarly we have worked hard to encourage an understanding of dementia as an ill health issue - something which is not always widely recognised within the community - and together with the Alzheimers Society we have made a CD aimed at helping families understand this problem.

Proud of the good practice he has been able to reinforce in his own Centre, Shahed Mayet has been pleased to sign up as a Dignity Champion to highlight these issues in the wider community.

He sums up his approach this way:

"Dignity in care to me is about providing quality care in a dignified and respectful manner where the service users does not feel embarrassed or humiliated when receiving the care and support they require."