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By Debbie le Quesne

Posts Tagged ‘Dignity Action Day

Dignity message still going strong after awareness event ends

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Dignity, dignity, dignity – it’s everywhere, two days after the ‘action’ day closed.

Events are still going on, trainers are training, and generally the practice of upholding dignity and sustaining it among our most vulnerable is big business in the nicest possible way. Dignity champions are signing up all over the UK.

Who would have thought that so much could come from this inititative? I am gob-smacked at how so many have risen to the challenge.

There’s a 10 point Dignity Challenge we can commit to:

1. Have a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse.

2. Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family.

3. Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service.

4. Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control.

5. Listen and support people to express their needs and wants.

6. Respect people’s right to privacy.

7. Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution.

8. Engage with family members and carers as care partners.

9. Assist people to maintain confidence and positive self-esteem.

10. Act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation.

People from all walks of life can make a difference and help deliver this campaign (see http://www.dignityincare.org.uk/Resources/Useful_resources_for_Dignity_Champions/Toolkit_for_action/).

The West Midlands Care Association actively supports the dignity challenge and it’s central to our training. Useful toolkits are available at the National Dignity Council website and cover issues as diverse as nutrition and feeding to human rights.

The following poem can be found on the dignitycare website. Sadly, it will not get the exposure there it deserves. Just take a few seconds to read it . . . and may be, pledge to become a dignity champion.

I can’t see 
I can’t speak

But I have wet myself

Please don’t shout, 
’She’s wet the chair again’

For all to hear.

Come on love stand up for me

Phew, what’s that smell?

Please don’t embarrass me

I’ve had an accident,

But don’t be mad with me,

You see I take a lot of tablets.

I don’t know what they do to me.

As I can’t hold on like I use to do.

So please don’t moan at me

Just show me A BIT OF DIGNITY

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Dignity Action Day – the event that should never end

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Just incase you’ve missed the news, it’s Dignity Action Day tomorrow (Saturday) – a campaign that attempts to vastly improve the lives of those who need social, nursing and health care.

Dame Joan Bakewell, Dignity in Care ambassador sums up the goals perfectly: “Dignity Action Day highlights a more respectful way of behaving towards vulnerable people. The very old and the very young clearly need our respect, but it wouldn’t do any harm to spread the dignity message across the population then we can all benefit.”

Upholding people’s rights for dignity is surely a duty for all of us, whether in the care sector or not. To this end, events to promote the campaign have been happening all over the UK – everything from champagne and canapés afternoons to senior disco dances have been held.

Treating fellow members of our community with respect is something most of us do automatically – but sometimes in our enthusiasm to help, or just speed things along, we can steal the dignity of those who are most vulnerable.

I recall one training session where West Midlands Care Association had feedback on their workshop from carers. They were good students and some had been in care settings for many years, but one admitted to “struggling to not be in full control.”

Dignity in action is not necessarily about grand gestures, it’s about remaining aware of others’ needs and supporting their abilities . . . it’s about treating others the way we would wish to be treated.

Dignity Champions pledge to challenge poor care and act as good role models to others. They include health and social care managers and frontline staff, doctors, nurses, MPs, councillors, members of local action groups and people from voluntary groups, who believe being treated with dignity is a basic human right, not an optional extra.

There’s a 10 point Dignity Challenge we can commit to:

1. Have a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse.

2. Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family.

3. Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service.

4. Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control.

5. Listen and support people to express their needs and wants.

6. Respect people’s right to privacy.

7. Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution.

8. Engage with family members and carers as care partners.

9. Assist people to maintain confidence and positive self-esteem.

10. Act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation.

One thing that has thrilled me during this campaign and it’s this: It doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Dignity events are still on calendars – and long may they be so.

Have a good weekend . . . and for those who have trouble to enhance the dignity cause, a huge thank you.

Sustaining dignity with a Sunday lunch special

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Dignity Action Day (February 1) is almost here – the chance to make difference in the way we think about those who are most vulnerable.

I find one of the most undignified things is loneliness, particularly with the elderly. Image having no-one to visit, most of your relatives live far away and the majority of your old friends have passed away.

For many of us, Sunday is a day to relax with friends and family and enjoy Sunday lunch before re-starting the working week.

But for 1million people aged 65 and over in Britain, Sunday is the loneliest day of the week.

How horribly sad.

A study conducted by charity the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS), shows that loneliness experienced by older people is compounded by lack of contact with their family and 13 per cent always feel lonely on a Sunday because it’s such a family day.

Previous research by the charity found that, for ten per cent of older people, their nearest child lives more than an hour’s drive away (40 miles plus), making that daily or weekly contact even more difficult.

The survey also showed that 33 per cent of older people miss sitting down to a meal with their family and 37 per cent of older people don’t enjoy eating a meal without being able to share it with someone.

These heart-rending facts are released as the Royal Voluntary Service launches the Big Sunday Lunch.

The initiative runs form February 7 – 9 and its aim is to encourage people to host a meal and invite along older friends, family or neighbours to raise money to help older people in their community.

Big Sunday Lunch gets backing from MasterChef presenter and 2 Michelin star Chef Michel Roux Jnr, who has suggested a favourite recipe for those holding an event.

Albert Roux said: “Food is a really important way of bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company and have a great time. It can be all too easy to take for granted the pleasure of sharing food; many older people don’t have the luxury of enjoying a meal with their family or friends. Holding a Big Sunday Lunch event is a great excuse to gather your nearest and dearest to enjoy breaking bread together and raise money to help tackle loneliness among older people at the same time.”

Sharing a meal is not too difficult for most of us. It’s a simple act of hospitality. What’s not to like? Food is on the menu.

Anyone interested in taking part can download a fundraising pack to help with ideas, along with tips on how to organise and promote their own event by visiting www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/bigsundaylunch.

Many of the care issues surrounding the dignity of our older people, especially those in need of care, will involve training – and the WMCA does a good deal of it.

But this event is the price of a meal or two, needs no special training and anyone can contribute.

Royal Voluntary Service supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent in their own homes for longer – a central pillar of dignity in the community.

I think it’s time to get the cookery books out.

Dignity: Blowing the whistle on bad practice and poor care

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I’ve been troubled all week over the Hillcroft Nursing Home case in Lancaster where rogue carers have been jailed for pelting residents’ heads with beanbags “for their entertainment.”

These kind of crimes are sickening, they erode public confidence in the care sector and serve only to devalue the excellent service so many providers give.

How do we stop such cruelty? Often it has been through media intervention but it shouldn’t be that way.

It’s a sad, but true, fact that there are bad carers and I believe it is every good carers’ duty to help weed them out.

As part of the run into Dignity Action Day on February 1, I want to encourage a culture of whistle-blowing. Enlightened organisation know it makes sense in preserving reputation and business.

Employees need to feel free to challenge bad practice and poor behavior but blowing the whistle is never easy. It is, however, a vital part of safeguarding in social care environments.

Terry Bryan, the whistleblower and former senior nurse at Winterbourne View, was initially ignored by his manager, senior Castlebeck staff and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

His tenacity, however, paid off, and the resulting BBC Panorama exposé resulted in real change for the better.

The residents were moved to safety, the abusers were prosecuted, the home was closed and ultimately the provider went out of business. The CQC also changed its practice in relation to whistleblowers. A since act produced monumental changes for good.

Events like the abuse of residents at Winterbourne View and the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, have strengthened the argument that there is inadequate protection. These events serve as a stark reminder; both that employees may choose not to raise concerns for fear of the consequences and that employers may fail to respond. These cases have also raised serious concerns about the role of the regulator.

No-one really wants to talk about having a rogue employee in the ranks and the possibility of a culture that does not uphold dignity. But we must foster an environment of trust and respond to any allegation with supportive actions.

The National Minimum Training Standards for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England require workers to know how and when to escalate any concerns; this includes use of whistleblowing policies.

The standards tell workers: “You must report things that you feel are not right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties. This includes when someone’s health and safety is in danger; damage to the environment; a criminal offence; that the company is not obeying the law (like not having the right insurance); or covering up wrongdoing’ (Skills for Care and Skills for Health, 2013).”

Dignity Action Day on the horizon

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We are fast pushing through January – scary isn’t it – with the national Dignity Action Day looming ever nearer.

West Midlands Care Association will be adding its significant contributions to the event (more on that as the countdown to February 1 gets closer) but I wanted to encourage you to get involved.

Our role in this initiative is primarily through training but I’ve been looking at how others who have become dignity champions have marked the event in recent years and what ‘s happening throughout the UK this year.

Hospitals, care and nursing homes, domiciliary services, community nurses, support networks and business for the disables and learning disabled and day centres have all taken part.

Teas, cakes, funny stories, memory jogging, lectures, forums, tombolas, care home open days, a transport theme day with everything from police vehicles to hoists and wheelchairs, a Fairy Godmother day, informal discussions with relatives and friends, coffee mornings, awareness events, around the world food fun, a daffodils day, a country and western themed event, tea dancing and drop-in sessions are all on the agenda for this year.

For many who have already signed up to this good practice framework the day’s activities have been extended through the week.

Before the Dignity in Care campaign was launched, numerous focus groups took place around he country to find out what Dignity in Care meant to people.

The issues raised at these events resulted in the development of the 10 Point Dignity Challenge. The challenge describes values and actions that high quality services that respect people’s dignity should:

  1.   Have a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse
  2.   Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family
  3.  Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service
  4.  Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control
  5.  Listen and support people to express their needs and wants
  6.  Respect people’s right to privacy
  7.  Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution
  8.  Engage with family members and carers as care partners
  9.  Assist people to maintain confidence and positive self-esteem

10.   Act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation

So how can you help?

Dignity is a central pillar of all care and not only do we need care professionals to keep updated with training, we also need to tell the world – well, at least the local media – that honouring those for whom we care is the heartbeat of 99.9 per cent of those in care. Be creative, have fun and get the message out there . . . please.

Let me remind you of what happens when we lose sight of dignity.

Last week three care workers who abused elderly dementia sufferers at a nursing home were jailed and a fourth given a community sentence.

Residents at Hillcroft Nursing Home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster, were mocked, bullied and tormented because they would have no memory of the abuse.

One man had his foot stamped on deliberately and another nearly tipped out of his wheelchair.

The vulnerable victims were also pelted with bean bags and balls at their heads “for entertainment”.

Carol Ann Moore, 54, Katie Cairns, 27, and Gemma Pearson, 28, were found guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court of ill-treatment or neglect of a person who lacks capacity, under the Mental Capacity Act, after a four-week trial last November.

Darren Smith, 35, from Lancaster, who admitted ahead of the trial eight counts of ill-treatment in which he threw bean bags or ball at eight residents, has been jailed for eight months by Preston Crown Court.

Last week Cairns was sentenced to five months in prison, Moore was jailed for four months and Pearson was given a 12-month community order.

Sentencing, Judge Byrne was reported as saying: “Some of the offences were gratuitous sport at the expense of vulnerable victims. Each of these defendants broke the trust placed in them.”

Indeed they did. They also brought shame to our care sector which found headlines everywhere.

Let’s try to put some good headlines out.

More blogs on dignity coming soon,