Recently I blogged about 17 things not to say or do to people with dementia, and have revised and reconsidered this list, to be published again soon. However I thought today I’d publish the list of 10 Dignity in Dementia Care Principles in use in SA Health. Dignity in Care was first launched in Australia in early 2011 at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH), introduced by Dr Faizel Ibrahim, with one of our favourite and famous local cooks, Maggie Beer as the patron. The program started with 300 enthusiastic champions, and now has over 1000. Dignity in Care is being used by SA health to change the culture of services by reinforcing the importance of treating patients with dignity and respect.
- Zero tolerance of all forms of abuse
- Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family.
- Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service.
- Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control.
- Listen and support people to express their needs and wants.
- Respect people’s privacy.
- Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution.
- Engage with family members and carers as care partners.
- Assist people to maintain confidence and a positive self-esteem.
- Act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation.
As a consumer, and unfortunately with a too much experience now as a patient the last ten years, I would say we have a long way to go for dementia care to improve in the acute setting, but we have to start somewhere, with whatever size steps are possible, and it is wonderful to know it is in progress.The national and state Dementia Frameworks will also go some way to bringing about the much needed change, as it is unacceptable that research still indicates some alarming facts, such as people with dementia stay twice as long in the acute setting as a person without dementia, for the same medical or surgical admission. Dignity in Care is important, and I fully support the 10 Principles above.