Rights Made Real – A Summer Update

Over the Summer there has been lots of progress within the Rights Made Real in Care Homes Project.

  • Three human rights workshops successfully completed with another two dates set before the end of the year.
  • Two projects are coming to the end of their project and had a celebration event to reflect on all they have achieved and how they plan on embedding the learning.
  • The sensory garden in Tiree is blossoming and is due to be completed in the next month
  • Group Zoom call on the 11th September was a great success where we explored the progress of each project that was represented, different tools such as curiosity cards and the use of language in human rights. Our next group Zoom call is on 6th November

We are also excited and preparing for a two-day learning and sharing event in Perth, where all the projects no matter where they are on their journey are coming together to:

  • reflect and celebrate how far they have come
  • share their journey with others
  • think about how their practice has changed in terms of “I used to but I now….”
  • think about 'why YOU are so important in the realization of human rights'
  • future form – 'how do we embed this learning and where do we go from here?'

We can’t wait to share the findings from the upcoming learning event with you all in the near future.


On Tuesday and Friday on the next few weeks we will be sharing reflections from the projects across each of the following themes:

News Release: Call for an Older Persons Human Rights Convention

Call for an Older Persons Human Rights Convention

On the UN International Day of Older Persons, 1 October, The Five Nations Care Forum, comprising eight national social care organisations, added their voice to the urgent call for a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.

Globally, between 2017 and 2030, the number of persons aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 46 per cent (from 962 million to 1.4 billion).

This day is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world.

Older people have always played a significant role in society, yet they are at risk of ageism, discrimination, poverty and disability, because their rights are not respected.

Old age is something which should be valued, but societal attitudes fail to recognise the benefits and potential of older persons. Old age is seen as a challenge rather than an opportunity.

Across the UK and Republic of Ireland we join the call, led by HelpAge International, for a new convention on the rights of older people. We believe that this is a crucial way to make sure that all people enjoy their human rights in older age, and on an equal basis with others.

Notes for editors

1. The Five Nations Care Forum enables representative care organisations for England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales to explore shared agendas in relation to models of care, registration, regulation and social care policy. For more information see: http://www.fivenationscareforum.com/

2. For further details on the importance of the Convention see: https://www.helpage.org/what-we-do/rights/towards-a-convention-on-the-rights-of-older-people/

3. Enquiries to [email protected] / 07584 659995


Take part in Arts in Care – Luminate’s creative project for care homes


Arts in Care is an ambitious new project developed by Luminate in collaboration with the Care Inspectorate, Creative Scotland and the Baring Foundation. The aim of Arts in Care is to embed high quality arts in care activity across Scotland, with a long-term aim to build the skills, capacity and strength of both the arts and care sectors. Artist training and professional development will run alongside a creative programme for residents and staff in 30 care homes across Scotland.

Opportunity for Care Homes

Luminate are now inviting care homes for older people to apply to take part in this project.

Each selected care home will host an artist to deliver 5 half-day creative sessions with residents and staff at no financial cost to the home. This activity will take place between February and May 2020, with dates and times to be agreed between participating artists and care homes.

30 care homes for older people from across Scotland will be selected, they are looking for a group of homes with a range of different attributes - urban and rural, mainland and islands, homes of different sizes and with different governance structures (local authority, private, voluntary/not for profit organisations); as well as a diversity of experience delivering creative activities.

Embedding creativity in care settings has been shown to be hugely beneficial to residents and staff, improving wellbeing, providing opportunities to socialise and to learn skills, as well as helping people living with dementia. There are already many examples of fantastic creativity happening across the sector, however we acknowledge that there can be barriers to facilitating such activities, whether that is due to limited resources and training, or the challenges of meeting the specific needs of individuals amongst a large group.

This project aims to build capacity, skills and confidence of the care sector through learning opportunities and knowledge exchange between artists and care staff.

Each selected care home will receive:
• 5 x 1/2 days of high quality creative activity delivered by skilled artists, at no cost to the home.
• Opportunities for residents, staff and managers to engage in activities to develop skills, confidence and creativity.
• Participation in a Scotland-wide project with ambitions for long-term impact on the sector.

Each participating care home will commit to the following:
• Care home manager and other staff will meet with the artist in advance, to help him/her plan the project. Activity coordinators are also welcome if there is one.
• Care home staff will support residents’ engagement with the creative activity during each visit.
• Supporting staff and managers to participate in sessions to enhance their own learning and development
• Care home manager and other relevant staff will contribute to the evaluation of the project (an independent evaluation body is to be appointed, and will produce an evaluation report which will be published at the end of the project).
• Please note that you must seek permission from residents/family members before consenting to take part in this project as photographs, filming and other collection of data may take place.

Selection criteria

Please note that this opportunity is open to care homes who achieved grade 3 or above for all five key questions at their last inspection. If not all key questions were inspected against please use the grade from a previous inspection.

• How well do we support people’s wellbeing?
• How good is our leadership?
• How good is our staff team?
• How good is our setting?
• How well is our care planned?

Successful care homes will be able to demonstrate:
• How you will maximize the potential impact of the creative project in your care home.
• How you will support the artist and participating residents throughout the project.
• How you will support staff to participate meaningfully in the project and any activity.

Please note that the final selection will take into account the need for a geographical spread and mix of urban and rural locations, as well as a diversity of scale and governance and experience of supporting creative activity. The Arts in Care project will be supported by an Improvement Adviser from the Care Inspectorate.

How to apply

Interested care homes should:
• Apply in their own words as to why the feel their care home is suitable for this project, with particular emphasis on why they feel the arts are important to their residents and to overall wellbeing outcomes.
• Please include general (not confidential) details of any particular health needs of your residents that may need to be taken into account.
• Please include details of the expected number of residents taking part and any issues around space or facilitation.
• Include all this information in either one Word document or a PDF.

Please email your application to Lisa Maynard, Improvement Adviser, Care Inspectorate at [email protected] with ‘Arts in Care: Care Homes Opportunity’ in the subject line

All applications must be received by 23rd October at midday.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel comprising representatives from Luminate, Creative Scotland and the Care Inspectorate.

If you have any enquiries about this opportunity, please contact Lisa Maynard, Improvement Adviser, Care Inspectorate, ahead of the deadline: [email protected] / 01382 207393 / 07970405050.

Update Piece on Arts in Care (002)


Scottish Care Webinar – 4 October 2019

Scottish Care is delighted to announce the guest speaker for our next webinar, Calum Smith - Registration Team Leader, Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). This webinar is due to take place on Friday 4 October 2019 at 10:30am.

In this session, Calum will be giving a presentation on registering with SSSC. This presentation will include: when to register and what this means for you, the value of registration, and your responsibilities as a registrant. He will then give a live demonstration of MySSSC, which is a platform for a range of online services for people applying for registration, people who are already registered, employers and universities. With MySSSC you can: apply for registration; have your application endorsed by your employer; view the information SSSC holds in relation to your registration; view your current registration status including any conditions on your registration; update changes; record your post registration training and learning; renew your registration online; pay your fees online. Calum will also be available to answer any questions at the end of the webinar.

We hope you can attend the webinar as it will be an informative session that will be beneficial to those working in the social care sector.

Those who wish to attend the webinar must be members of Scottish Care.

You can read the Terms of Participation here

Webinar link: https://zoom.us/j/784074083

Webinar ID: 784-074-083

New SSSC careers website – start a life changing career in care

Are you looking for a job that makes a difference?

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) have just launched a new careers website - www.careersinscare.scot -which can help you start a career in Scotland's social services. This new website now replaces any other career websites by SSSC.

This website shows how someone can build a career working with children and young people, in social services and healthcare settings, or as a social worker.

The new website is simple and easy-to-use, featuring a range of information including:

  • careers stories from real social service workers
  • interactive qualification pathways to show how to enter the sector and progress in your career
  • links to opportunities to work, train or study
  • frequently asked questions with advice about funding, qualifications and more.

Anyone interested in a career in social service can use the website to make their first steps. Those who are already working in the sector can also use the website for inspiration regarding how their career could progress.


Guidance Document on Human Rights Charter for Technology and Digital in Social Care

Scottish Care and partners have been developing a 'Human Rights Charter for Technology and Digital in Social Care' over the past year, involving work from developers and designers, providers and practitioners, residents and citizens we use social care support. This charter details 17 principles that should be followed when using technology in the care of people in Scotland. A guidance document has also been produced which briefly discusses each principle individually and suggests how they can be used to support the human rights of individuals and communities in the use of technology and digital in social care.

We encourage you to take a look through the Guidance Document and Charter below.

It is our hope that any readers, whether from organisations, members and individuals will want to sign up to the Charter. We are currently creating a distinct page for this, but in the meantime please email [email protected] stating your name and we will get back to you soon.

Tech guidance

Tech charter

‘Always caring, always nursing’ celebration

This year marks 100 years since the establishment of the Nurses Registration Act 1919. This act brought together nurses under one profession in the pursuit of ever-improving care and greater trust from the public. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is honouring this historic occasion through the 'Always caring, always nursing' celebration, which celebrates the expertise, experience and knowledge that nurses have which makes them the most trusted profession in the UK.

The celebration started on the Saturday 14 September 2019 and will last 100 days, with a range of different activities and events planned overthe Autumn months.

Throughout the 100 days, nurses are encouraged to share any interesting or inspiring stories that NMC could use on their website, blogs, social media, videos and news articles.

Do you know anyone with an interesting story? It could be about their professional journey, or something outside of work that brings to life what nursing means. Do you know someone who has come from a long line of nurses? Or maybe you know an inspirational nurse who has gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional care?

If you know anyone who you think embodies what being a nurse is all about, you can either get in touch by emailing [email protected] or by visiting NMC'S website website and submitting their story online here:  https://www.nmc.org.uk/nursing-stories.

Nursing has always been vital for the care home sector, with over 5,000 nurses employed by Scottish Care member organisations across Scotland. These individuals are key contributors in the delivery of quality, person-centred care and support to some of our most vulnerable citizens. Therefore, Scottish Care strongly encourages you to take part of this 100 day celebration, and help raise awareness and recognise the professional pride and important role nurses play in our society.

For more information please see: https://www.nmc.org.uk/always-caring-always-nursing/


A new blog from our CEO – Scottish Labour consultation on Health and Care

Human Rights and Social Care Reality.

There is a lot of election talk in the air at the moment. Along with this there is a great deal of media debate and discussion south of the border over the state of social care, it’s under-funding and need of reform. Social care along with health are devolved matters in Scotland and discussions and plans around reform and funding are well under way.

However what happens in England influences the delivery of social care in Scotland regardless of the fact that I would suggest since the commencement of the Scottish Parliament some twenty years ago we have been trying to do things differently and with more collaboration.

Political parties in Scotland are at the stage of both preparing for Westminster elections but also beginning the process of defining positions and policies for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021. As part of this Scottish Labour has put out a consultation on health and social care. Scottish Care has responded to this and we are pleased to publish this response for a wider audience.

Scottish Labour are considering the effective nationalisation of social care and talk of a desire to ‘bring back in house’ social care provision is contained in the paper. Personally I believe such rhetoric and policy articulation needs to be challenged from the perspective of a diminution of citizen choice and a loss of rights.

Indeed I have been led to believe that a number of commissioning officers in Scottish local authorities are investigating whether it would be desirable or possible to bring social care provision in house. I would suggest that this needs to be strongly resisted not least because currently it would be illegal.

So on what basis am I making these assertions?

What is social care?

Within the Labour Party document and elsewhere within the current political debate there is a conflation, sometimes accidental, sometimes deliberate, of what health and social care services are and what they seek to deliver. The equating of the two is damaging and unhelpful. In order to understand how social care (or long-term care) can be viewed we need to understand what it is and what it is not.

The Adult Social Care Reform process which is currently underway acknowledges this lack of robust understanding and as part of its articulation has suggested the importance of talking not just about social care but about ‘social care and support.’

There are many definitions, both legal and philosophical, as to what social care is. Importantly, for instance, social care whilst it may contain services and behaviours which are clinical or medical in nature is not primarily about one’s physiological health.

The Scottish Care working definition of social care is:

‘The enabling of those who require support or care to achieve their full citizenship as independent and autonomous individuals. It involves the fostering of contribution, the achievement of potential and the nurturing of belonging to enable the individual person to flourish.’

In essence social care is about enabling the fullness of life for every citizen who needs support whether on the grounds of age, disability, infirmity or health. Social care and support are holistic in that it seeks to support the whole person and it is about attending to the individual’s well being. It is about removing the barriers that limit and hold back and the fostering of conditions so that individuality can grow, and the independent individual can flourish.

Social care is not about performing certain functions and tasks alone for it is primarily about relationship; the being with another that fosters individual growth, restoration and personal discovery. It is about enabling independence and reducing control, encouraging self-assurance and removing restriction, maximising choice and building community.

Therefore, as many of us have sought to illustrate over the last few years, social care is not equivalent to health but a critical component to the realisation of health.

Human rights.

For me social care has always been profoundly about human rights. It is about giving the citizen control and choice, voice and agency, decision and empowerment. These sentiments are well reflected in the international literature both on the role and purpose of social care – especially independent living and its acceptance as a human right – and in what has been written about ‘long-term care’ , including a growing volume of human rights case law.

Included within the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) there is the right to health. The right to health is the right to a universal minimum standard of health to which all individuals are entitled without discrimination. What this means in practice has been long debated but there is now a mature conviction that the right to health is not solely the right to physical and clinical health but to psychological, emotional and societal well-being. There has been a considerable volume of debate, not least in the ten meetings of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (over the last decade and more) that part of what constitutes the right to health for older persons and people with disabilities is the full realisation of ‘rights’ in relation to what the UN terms as ‘long-term care.’

I would argue that such ‘long term care’ or what we would describe as ‘social care’ is inherent to the realisation of the human right to health, and that we need to seek to develop and articulate what are considered to be the key characteristics of exercising a right around ‘long-term care or ‘social care.’ I intend to argue both points more substantially in a future publication later this year (for Human Rights Day on December 10th).

Self-directed Support (SDS)

Human rights and social care practice come together in our SDS legislation. The Self-directed Support legislation in Scotland unapologetically grew out of the independent living movement of the learning and physical disabled communities in the 1970s. With the closure of large-scale institutions there was an emphasis on enabling individuals to live more independent lives. Policies and practice at the time and since emphasised the importance of building social care supports around the life of the individual rather than expecting the individual to fit into what services were available. A one size fits all approach was replaced by the urge to develop and offer bespoke individual services and supports. This has been eloquently re-articulated in the current reform process.

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, is a direct continuation of this earlier work on personalisation. The pursuit of citizen control, independent living, autonomy and choice is not a recent one. It is clearly a pursuit at the heart of the disability civil rights movement and a contributor towards the realisation of human rights.

The Self-directed Support legislation seeks to enshrine in law and social care practice the core values of inclusion, contribution and empowerment through real choice and respect.
The legislation is underpinned by a set of core values which at times mark the link between social care legislation and day to day practice.

The following words describe the values that have helped to inform the guidance:

• Respect
• Fairness
• Independence
• Freedom
• Safety’

It will be clear that such values are rooted in the earlier concepts of personalised services and greater independent living. The Act and Guidance then go on to indicate that there are certain core principles at the centre of self-directed support. Principles are described as ‘....... the means by which we put our values into practice. The 2013 Act (Sections 1 and 2) provides four legal principles

• Participation and dignity
• Involvement
• Informed Choice
• Collaboration.’

The Guidance then goes on to root these principles and values within a human rights-based framework. The Guidance reflects the conviction that the provision of social care and the facilitation of choice as part of this, is a way of protecting human rights.

‘Effective, person-centred social care, determined and led by the individual in partnership with the relevant professional increases the choice for the supported person and provided them with the opportunity to take more control and manage their life.’ (Guidance section 4.9).

The Act and its Guidance envisage various ways in which the values and principles are put into effect. In practice this means that there needs to be as much emphasis placed upon the universal needs of an individual as much as attending to their basic needs. There is a clear distinction between addressing needs which keep you alive and healthy and those which are more holistic and relate to well-being. To remain in relationship, to maintain friendships and be connected up to the community are as important requirements of support as being nourished, healthy and safe.

‘Participation and dignity are core aspects of independent living whereby all supported people should expect to have the same freedom, choice, dignity and control as other citizens at home, at work and in the community. In some respects, the concept of independent living provides a modern interpretation of the social welfare duties provided in the 1968 Act.’ (Guidance section 4.4).


Informed choice is therefore critical to the implementation of a human rights-based approach to SDS. Choice is very different within the social care context compared to the health environment.

If I have a medical emergency then personally I want the best clinical care and don’t really want to have much say in who delivers that care as long as they are trained, suitably qualified and supervised. A short term stay in a hospital is very different from the place and people with whom I spend my life. If I am living with a lifelong condition or need support in any way because of life circumstances or age then I most certainly do want to have more choice and control both over who is in my life as a carer and what the nature of that support and care might be. The critical importance of legislation like Self-directed Support is all about embedding that control and choice, building those rights with the citizen including fiscal and budgetary control.

This has implications for the social care ‘market.’ At the moment within the legislation there is a requirement to ensure the diversity and reality of this ‘choice’ of provision for citizens. (section 19). Is it possible to fulfil this requirement and Statutory Duty if you only offer one provider (in-house provision)? Such proposals not only fail to understand that we never had a national social care system, but that historically social care was delivered in large part by charitable bodies such as the churches. But the suppositions also challenge the real potential creativity of self-directed support which was about enabling local individuals and communities to recognise and use their own assets to care for those in their midst. Where would such micro community provision stand in a nationalised system?

So, in our discussions and debates on the future of social care in Scotland I do not think we can avoid the reality that in practice and in law social care is a human rights issue and any changes to its delivery has to be rooted in human rights.

Donald Macaskill

CEO Scottish Care


You can view a copy of Scottish Care's response to the Scottish Labour Party consultation below.

Scottish Labour Party Health Care - Scottish Care Response Aug 19f (003)

Blog 2: Privacy for those living with dementia

“I just want some privacy, is that too much to ask?”

I have memories of shouting this rhetorical question in my teenage years as a result of sharing a room with my younger sister growing up. What do you think of when you think of the term privacy? Is it the time you have to yourself in the car on the way home from work before you pick up the kids, writing a journal that no one else has access to or maybe you like to escape into nature for the weekend and go fishing. All these instances fulfil our human need for privacy which include having space and most importantly the conditions to be able to think, reflect and process the World around us. Realising a certain degree of privacy when you are a single healthy person is easy enough to achieve but what about when someone has a health condition like Dementia that requires 24-hour care and support?

These factors drastically change how the right to a private and family life and correspondence (Article 8 European Convention of Human Rights) are realised. Privacy is a vital human right, but it should be said that it can be restricted in some instances. This is only allowed where the authority can show that its action is lawful, necessary and proportionate in order to protect national security, protect public safety, protect the economy or protect health / morals, amongst others. Although it can be restricted like a number of other rights, they still need to be protected, with a special reminder that this may be more difficult for those who live in a group setting or those who have a diagnosis of dementia, as this naturally creates vulnerabilities and barriers for the person. When a person does not have the opportunity for time to themselves or has no space to call their own, no matter how extroverted they may claim to be, they will eventually begin to become drained, burnt out and lose their sense of identity.

 “I like my privacy and I protect it quite vigilantly” – Nicole Kidman

Many celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson and others in the public eye have spoken out against invasions of their privacy. The Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle sparked backlash after requesting privacy and no photos of her to be taken at her recent outing to Wimbledon. A media frenzy ensued, labelling her in one scathing headline,

“'Tacky' Meghan Markle's Wimbledon row proves she's not like Diana - it's all about her”.

It is interesting how this headline and others like it, lambast celebrities and defame their character for creating boundaries on their personal space and protecting their basic human right to privacy – a right which we all have. We all have intimate moments that we don’t want to share with others. There is no entitlement to an access-all-areas pass to someone else’s life, no matter who they are or what status they have. There is a cultural belief mostly held in the UK and USA that privacy is linked in some way to secrecy and deviant behaviour. Take for example when someone chooses not to use social media, our culture has shaped us to be suspicious of this choice. We assume the person is mysterious and yearn to know more about aspects of their lives they must be hiding from the World, when in fact, they simply do not want to share private moments on the internet. With this in mind, how does this then relate to those in a care home with a diagnosis of dementia that may have difficulty in expressing verbally how they feel about their privacy or do not want to share their thoughts on issues with staff or family members. How can we understand, support and maintain their right to privacy whatever their choices may be?

What does privacy look like for those that call a care home ‘home’?

For the most part the media coverage surrounding care home settings and prejudices that the public hold as a result, are mostly negative. I have heard of assumptions that those that live in a care home do not have access to basic amenities or private space which could not be further from the truth and it is these types of views that are damaging and insulting for the social care workforce that work tirelessly to make sure that people living in a care home are well cared for and looked after.

Residents living in a care home have their own unique backgrounds, different talents and ideas about what they enjoy, different needs and different levels of ability. It is therefore important that their individuality is respected. One person’s idea of privacy may be different to another’s. Privacy does not solely refer to physical space it is also the right to have:

  • Modesty when bathing and dressing
  • Privacy when one's personal circumstances are discussed by others
  • Respect for personal space
  • Respect for wish to be alone or spend time with other people
  • Respect for private correspondence
  • Respect for private letters and phone calls

(Age UK, 2019)

Rights Made Real in Care Homes Project and Privacy

Throughout the Rights Made Real in Care Homes project there have been many discussions around the right to private and family life; what this looks like in practice and the art of balancing people the right to privacy for all residents whilst living in a group setting. In Laurel’s Lodge care home in Aberdeen their project is concentrating on building staff levels of confidence in anticipatory care planning through participatory workshops with the overall aim of enabling staff to feel more confident in exploring resident’s wishes in their final months, days, hours before and after their death.

One member of staff commented that although one resident was very outgoing and vivacious in life, she made the decision that she wanted a private funeral. During a workshop it gave us an opportunity to explore how this made the staff member feel, taking special consideration that she had built up a relationship with the resident.


The staff member replied that,

That’s what she wanted, and that’s that”.


Once we explored this in more depth, it was evident that the ACP workshops had contributed to the staff member’s understanding that the resident had a right to make her own end of life decisions even when others may not understand them. The care home staff both respected her choice and helped to support the resident with the arrangements that she would have wanted.


The care home manager commented,

If a resident has previously made a decision to have a private funeral, then this must be respected. We always ask the family if the funeral will be private or not, and then I inform the staff.”


It is also a human right to have freedom of thought, belief or religion which is covered in article 9 of the ECHR about the decisions you make in your life which is also covered under article 8 of the ECHR which includes the right to private, family life and correspondence. Anticipatory care planning and the outcome-based reviews has made a difference in helping staff to have these important and sensitive discussions with residents and their relatives (when they no longer can communicate their own views) to find out their views. It has also been the experience of staff that many residents do not want to talk about their wishes, which also must be respected.


We explored many dilemmas in practice one of which being relatives giving cakes and hard sweets to other resident’s when they came to visit. This kind gesture turned out to be dangerous for certain residents as they were assessed at a high risk of choking. It was interesting to understand how the care home manager explored and navigated this dilemma, keeping the trust of both parties without violating the person’s privacy and revealing the reason why.


“I invited our Chef Trainer in the company to one of our relatives’ meetings and discussed about dysphagia. We also have posters in the home to politely remind the relatives/visitors that there are residents (don’t say who) who are at risk of choking and that they should let the staff know if they take in food to their home. So far this has made a difference to us at Laurels as we have cooperation from relatives now.”


A creative method was used in this instance to raise awareness of dysphagia and it’s effects without compromising on individual privacy of those in question. Having the knowledge and understanding of human rights and anticipatory care planning has significantly helped to raise staff confidence by equipping them with the tools and knowledge in having these types of discussions with relatives and residents, also by understanding what is important to people and knowing the ethical boundaries in which they have to work within.


The care home manager of Laurels Lodge stated,

“I really think that promoting awareness of issues such as dysphagia and how it affects people we care for makes a difference in a way that people are able to participate in their care.”


One last scenario I thought about with regards to privacy in a care home setting was how can someone be encouraged to have private time to themselves in their own room with staff knowing they are safe. I explored this with a care home manager who pointed out that their team have checks on their residents that and especially for those who are most of risk of falls or have advanced dementia which makes them more vulnerable to risk. She also mentioned the important role and use of technology is vital in supporting the team to do this without the resident’s feeling like they are constantly being monitored. Specifically, this is done through using falls pendants, falls mats and other smart technology all of which help to promote a resident’s independence and maintain their privacy, as well as good practice and adhering to the Health and Social Care Standards by realizing the care home is the person’s home e.g. remembering to knock the person’s door before entering and respecting their privacy.

Privacy and Technology

With the dizzying pace of technological development over the last decade, the use of technology and innovative design in social care is being harnessed more than ever before. Technology can be used to help older people live independently for longer through falls alarms and electric call monitoring. Smart assistive technology such as Alexa can also be used to help with practical tasks of turning on a light or the kettle. There has been debate and talk over whether Care Bots should be introduced to help with care tasks too, but that’s got a host of ethical issues and is a whole other blog of its own. These technologies can all be used to help people to stay safe, reduce falls, promote independence and encourage better overall outcomes for people and their wellbeing.

Bruce Shneier a public-interest technologist, who has been writing on the issue of privacy in a technological age since 2004 states we need to change our view of what encompasses privacy and that people have a right to maintain their privacy in a way they feel comfortable in order to live a dignified and authentic life. What is the balance between technology that we are happy to have in our home and technology that invades our right to private and family life? Research shows that the typical person in the UK passes under 300 cameras on a daily basis, with their being as many as 11,000 cameras recording on the London Tube at any one time. As a society we have become comfortable with the idea of being monitored. The purpose of this surveillance is to deter crime and help people to feel safe. Sales of home CCTV kits are also rising with a lot of family members using them to help monitor a relative with Dementia from the comfort of their own home.

If it has become acceptable to be monitored in public and now in private under specific circumstances to maintain safety, how long before it is deemed acceptable for surveillance to be used in our homes and should it ever be acceptable under the human rights framework that we abide by. It is so important that we realise our right to privacy and work within ethical boundaries, especially when using technology in the lives of those living with dementia. A group of human rights organisations argued that secret mass surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden was illegal. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said that it had been illegal for years before the policy had recently been changed. It is vital that we realise our right to privacy and work within ethical boundaries, especially when using technology in the lives of those living with dementia. So, in summary, the answer to my opening question “I just want some privacy is that too much to ask?”.

It is never too much to ask for the privacy that is yours, by right.

If you would like to stay up to date with the projects you can follow their journey on Twitter.. @rightsrealscot on the website www.scottishcare.org/rights-made-real or my email is [email protected]


Thanks very much,


Verity Monaghan

Policy & Human Rights Project Worker

Dementia Inclusive Choir Network – Luminate in partnership with Scottish Care

Scottish Care is working in partnership with Luminate - Scotland's creative ageing organisation - and are planning to create a Dementia Inclusive Choir network throughout Scotland. This network aims to ensure that people who are living with dementia, along with their carers, are able to sing in choirs in their local area.

An exciting opportunity has came up for community music training opportunities in Stornoway and Dumfries that may be of interest to activity coordinators at local care venues, especially if they lead singing activities and would like to develop their musicianship skills. Whilst many working in healthcare venues may feel the dementia inclusion training is not needed, in Stornoway the training will be split so people can just attend the community music training.

In Dumfries they are piloting an integrated approach so it would be a mix of both types of training plus group management training led by Making Music over a full day. 

Come and Sing Event

This dementia inclusive singing event will feature an exciting mix of different songs and styles. This is a chance to sing together with community choirs, singing groups and individual singers. There will also be an opportunity to meet new people and enjoy refreshments after the event.

Dementia Inclusive Training

The Dementia Inclusive Training sessions are designed for choir leaders and organisers, community workers and professionals working in the care and healthcare sector. This enables leaders to develop new and stronger skills and knowledge around choral leadership and dementia-inclusive practice, with the aim to increase the accessibility of choirs and singing opportunities across Scotland to people living with dementia and their carers.

Upcoming Events

Come and Sing - Stornoway

Thursday 26 September 2019, 6:30pm-8:00pm

Dementia Inclusive Training - Stornoway

Saturday 28 September 2019, 9:00am-3:00pm

Come and Sing - Dumfries

Saturday 12 October 2019, 2:00pm-3:30pm

Dementia Inclusive Training - Dumfries

Sunday 13 October, 10:00am-4:00pm

Please click the buttons below for more information or you can call the Luminate office on 0131 668 8066 or email [email protected].