Dignity is central to delivering quality care

When it comes to care, dignity is a basic right of every service user. In every decision and interaction, healthcare providers must prioritise its preservation as we do not always feel entirely in control when it comes to our health and receiving the care we need, which can result in losing some sense of our dignity.

The importance of dignity is reinforced across each of Picker’s Principles of Person Centred Care, a framework built around ensuring people’s views count and championing the best possible person centred care. Our Principle of ‘involvement in decisions and respect for preferences’ is a key area where healthcare providers can ensure people maintain their sense of dignity when coming into contact with care services. Whilst it is a minimum expectation to be treated as individuals, given choice, and have our preferences respected, this unfortunately is not always fully met across services.

The 2022 Community Mental Health Survey – coordinated by Picker for the Care Quality Commission – revealed that 10% of over 12,000 respondents answered no to the question “Overall, in the last 12 months, did you feel that you were treated with respect and dignity by NHS mental health services?”. This figure has slowly been increasing year-on-year, now reaching an all-time high. Across services, from adult care to maternity to mental health, it’s crucial to protect patient dignity, regardless of the recipient and the service they require.

Dignity Action Day, held on February 1st, is an annual opportunity for health and social care workers and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and celebrate dignified practice. As we believe that compassion, respect, equality, and diversity are crucial to upholding equitable, person centred policy and practice within health and social care, Picker will be showing solidarity with the mission of Dignity Action Day by inviting our staff to wear red on February 1st.

You can find out more on how to support the campaign on their website here.

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