Dignity And Dementia Handout 2

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Enhancing dignity in the care of people with dementia Professor Lesley Baillie
Florence Nightingale Foundation
Chair of Clinical Nursing Practice,
London South Bank University and
University College :London Hospitals


Types of dignity
• Human dignity: the dignity that all humans have and cannot be taken away
• Social dignity: experienced through interaction - dignity-of-self and dignity-inrelation (Jacobson 2007)
• So for people with dementia:
• We must acknowledge and respect their human dignity
• We must recognise how their dignity is affected by how they feel and by our interactions with them

What is the meaning of dignity? How does it feel to have dignity?

How does it feel to lose our dignity? The meaning of dignity
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Student experience

Dilemmas in promoting dignity Scenario
• Marie goes in to visit her aunt Margaret who has dementia and lives in a care home. Marie finds that she has not been washed and has on yesterday’s soiled clothes. The staff say she did not want a wash or clean clothes today.


• Are the care home staff’s actions promoting
Margaret’s dignity through allowing her autonomy?
• Or have they diminished her dignity as Margaret previously took a pride in her appearance?
• What alternatives were there? Dilemmas in promoting dignity Scenario

• Tom (a former naval captain) is on an acute hospital ward and is constantly packing his bag trying to leave the ward as he says he has to go to sea. All morning there is commotion as staff try to get him back to his bed.
Tom is clearly agitated and the staff are stressed. Questions

• Are the staff justified in persisting with keeping
Tom on the ward apparently against his wishes? • Or are the staff diminishing Tom’s dignity by preventing him from being in control?
• What alternatives were there? Culture of the care environment
• Social norms and accepted practices
• Culture can have a positive or negative effect on how staff behave • Some wards/teams/ units/care homes have a culture of respect for patients and sensitivity
• Leadership is key

There 's a very(Patient) caring, respectful approach. The ward is friendly - there 's a nice feel about the

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