Dignity within activities
Dignity is an inherent principle of human rights legislation with its beginnings seen many times throughout the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights document. Indeed Article 1 of the Declaration states that:
‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’
Dignity is therefore tightly connected to humanity, freedom and equality from birth. It can be most prominently seen to be included in article 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – the right to freedom of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. Having an awareness of what could be compromising a person’s dignity or identity is vital in being able to deliver high quality care and support that is right for that individual, especially for those who have protected characteristics for example a diagnosis of dementia.
With help from the learning partner Tamsin, the staff have been practising their observation skills to notice a resident’s demeanour during an activity and recognising the extra support someone with a visual impairment may need and what they sensory stimulation they benefit from.
“There was a vibrating coming from a lamp and we thought this was too loud – the resident said she liked it, she could feel her feet on the floor, felt grounded. “
Staff have realised from this it is always good to check out with residents as they are the experts of their own experience. This builds trust between staff and the resident, addressing the power imbalance and promoting the level of control they have over their lives.
Wellbeing: “I am supported to make informed choices, even if this means I might be taking personal risks.”
A member of staff sharing what they could see during a Hawaiian themed day, what was around them, the smells and the colours of the garlands. One resident said
‘I really enjoyed that, I could visualise myself on the beach’.
“This resident never compliments us and it really helped me realise how important it is to explain the resident’s surroundings to them and to ‘be their eyes’. I will do this more now with other residents.”
Compassionate: 2.8 “I am supported to communicate in a way that is right for me, at my own pace, by people who are sensitive to me and my needs.”
When thinking about activities of daily living in the project around anticipatory care planning, staff take care not to exclude people as their physical condition deteriorates and still help them to have control over their decisions as much as possible. When dignity might be compromised then activities come to the person in their room and are specifically tailored to what they like and what helps to relax them. Often this focus towards individual activity in bedroom is driven by the presence of family who want to spend time with the person which often happens in the privacy of their own room and meets a host of the person’s human rights whilst working to the health and social care standards.
Compassion: 1.6: “I get the most out of life because the people and organisation who support and care for me have an enabling attitude and believe in my potential.”
Responsive care and support: “My health and social care needs are assessed and reviewed to ensure I receive the right support and care at the right time.”
“My care and support adapts when my needs, choices and decisions change.”