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Dignity Ambassador calls for staff to take small steps

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Outdated stereotypes of older people must be rejected to give them dignity in care, Sir Michael Parkinson has warned.

In a report marking the end of his year as Dignity Ambassador, Sir Michael called for staff to take small steps to make sure people are treated with respect.

‘I gained first-hand experience of the NHS and care services during my mother’s illness with dementia,’ he said. ‘It struck me that, whilst there are some excellent examples of care where people are given the dignity and respect they need and deserve, much more needs to be done.

‘Dignity doesn’t need to cost anything - small considerations like taking time to have a chat when you take people to the loo, or using their name rather than a generic term of endearment, can help people retain independence and self respect. We need to banish outdated attitudes and assumptions that can be a barrier to
good quality care.’

How can you take action on dignity?

A number of initiatives are under way to help staff improve dignity in care:

  • The aim of the new National Care Service for adults in England is that it is fair, easy to understand, and makes it easier to access
    services.
  • Frontline staff and members of the public can apply for a share of the £50,000 of the DH’s Bright Ideas Grant by submitting ideas online that encourage dignity in care.
  • A new Dignity in Action Day has been announced for 25 February to recognise good work and encourage the public to get involved. In the lead up, health
    and social care staff have been able to pledge their time, post details of events or activities they are taking part in and find local volunteers to take part in events.
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