10 Dignity in Care Principles

dignity-in-dementiaRecently 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.

10 Dignity in Care Principles

  1. 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 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 a positive self-esteem.
  10. 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.

9 thoughts on “10 Dignity in Care Principles

  1. Hi Kate
    Thanks for the post on “Dignity In Care” we need all the publicity we can get 🙂
    It is just a list, but at least we have over 1000 people in the health care professions in South Australia, who have thought about and agree that these are Principles that we should work by.

    We are still quite a small movement – but you have to start somewhere.

    for more info see : http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/DignityInCare

    • Happy to support your wonderful work David and Faizel… I think I linked the Principles to SA Health, but thanks for the link just in case. Any and all steps are important, whether baby or big ones.

  2. It’s a shame that this list isn’t even being carried out in many general nursing homes for any kind of elderly person.

    It’s a good list for how to treat anybody, not just peole with dementia. Thanks Kate 🙂

  3. Excellent post and useful list. May I share this list with care professionals in Connecticut, provided that I credit you?

      • I have worked in aged care all of my working life & strove very hard to promote good care with the residents, the first time I worked in a secure “locked” section I was in my early 20 ‘ s & was horrified of the feeling of being locked in & I was a staff member, I could only guess how the residents felt. The second time I worked in a secure section I was in my 40 ‘ s & again I had the horrid feeling of being locked away from other staff members, resident & family members of the non secured section. I did try as often as possible to take residents from the secure section for walks and time away from the secure sections, joy that I saw on their faces was so worth the effort, even if it meant staying behind after hours to write up my notes! In latter years I took my little dog Jethro into work & he spent the day with the residents & again their happiness of having a pet to interact with was lovely to see. Unfortunately with new management I had to stop taking Jethro into work! I hope that the 10 basic guidelines lines that you have listed will be incorporated into every day life of a pwd living in a nursing home ASAP. I no longer work in an aged care facility as I am now a full time carer for my SIL who has younger onset dementia & I will care for her a long as possible so that she only has to go into residential care for the least amount of time possible.
        When I do return to the work force I aim to head into community care as my while perspective of residential care has changed due to the very real prospect of placing my dear SIL into a secure “locked” facility.

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