It's Dignity Action Day, so here are five simple actions to ensure you are providing care that preserves dignity...

01 February

When providing care and support, whether you are caring for a family member or a client, it is important to provide support with respect and preserving the persons dignity at all times.

When someone agrees to receive help at home, it can be a big transition from being completely independent to relying upon someone else for support. Enabling a person to retain levels of independence and choice is vital for their mental health and well-being.

When you are with someone you care for, always remember to…

Provide choice

Always give the person choice and options for everything you do. This includes what they want to wear, what they’d like to eat and what they would like to watch on TV, if they would like to shower or not, for example.

Allowing a person be fully involved in any decision making in their routines will have a positive affect on their health and well being.

Without the freedom to choose, it might feel like we are losing control over our life, so it’s important for people to feel empowered and in control.

Communication

When you are having a conversation with the person you are supporting, ensure you are talking with them as an equal. By listening to what they have to say, being respectful of their wants, needs and opinions, you will develop a rapport and the time you spend with them will be quality time that they will enjoy and look forward to.

Remember to treat people how you wish to be treated yourself.

Preserving dignity during personal care

Supporting somebody with their personal care, is a very intimate thing to do. Always ensure that you offer enough privacy so that they do not feel vulnerable.

When assisting a person to shower or wash, look away if possible, while they are stepping into a towel. This allows dignity to be retained. Not everyone is comfortable with being naked in front of other people.

With a strip wash, keep the top half covered whilst doing the bottom half, and so on.

Respect personal belongings

Have respect for the person and their surroundings, and ask permission to do something, or to move anything if you are unsure whether the person would be comfortable with your actions.