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Hospital nurses begin using 'dignity pegs'

  • 22 Comments

Nurses at north Cumbria’s two hospitals have introduced a new scheme on their wards to try and protect the privacy and dignity of all patients.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust launched “red dignity pegs” on 1 February, to coincide with Dignity Action Day.

The pegs will be used in the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

They are intended to maintain privacy and dignity by ensuring curtains and screens are closed properly with the use of a red peg. “Care in progress” signs will also be connected to the pegs.

The red pegs will be stored at bedsides and will be cleaned after every use.

Gill Long, the trust’s Productive Ward co-ordinator, said: “We hope that the introduction of the red dignity pegs will not only ensure the curtains are closed properly, but make staff stop and think about patients dignity before they go through a closed curtain.”

  • 22 Comments

Readers' comments (22)

  • Little One

    We've had red dignity pegs and 'Care in Progress' signs for years! They don't make any difference at all, staff still stick their heads round the curtains and ask "have you got the keys?" or "is Jayne in here?" or "can you help with X, Y and Z?" and do not provide the patients any more privacy or dignity. Relatives then see Nurses, Doctors, OTs and Physios ignoring the red dignity pegs and do so themselves, and are surprised when they find Auntie Elsie on the commode. We need to retrain Nurses to THINK before they open the curtains, regardless of what they need (unless in an emergency).

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  • Royal Berkshire has had them for ages - they make some difference and it is nice to see that we are trying to improve things!

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  • Little One - we have had them in East Kent for years as well.

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  • Is it possible to attach the peg and signage from inside the curtains, or do you have to get someone outside to do it?

    Must look very funny if you have to stick your head and arms through from the inside to attach them. LOL

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  • Is it just me but aren't curtains themselves a pretty big indication that privacy is needed?

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  • Anonymous | 13-Feb-2012 6:58 pm

    well said, isn't that what they are for.

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  • Anonymous | 13-Feb-2012 6:58 pm
    and
    Anonymous | 13-Feb-2012 7:09 pm

    Absolutely right!!

    Red pegs.......I despair!

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  • Little One

    Anonymous | 13-Feb-2012 6:58 pm

    "Is it just me but aren't curtains themselves a pretty big indication that privacy is needed? "


    In a mixed bay with just curtains would you as a patient be comfortable that no one could see you when you were on the commode? Even in a single sex bay I would be worried that a gap in the curtains might appear and people could see me. Not only that but everyone appears to have gotten so used to the curtains being closed that people just ignore them and poke their heads round anyway, I've seen plenty of staff doing it, the red pegs are supposed to stop them from doing that.

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  • Little One | 14-Feb-2012 10:39 am

    The red pegs make no difference. They are ignored just as much.

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  • Little One

    Anonymous | 14-Feb-2012 9:41 pm

    "The red pegs make no difference. They are ignored just as much."

    That may be so but if used correctly staff would have to physically remove the pegs to open the curtains, and when they are newly introduced I do think they make a difference, it's just keeping up the momentum once they've been in place for a few months/years.

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