by Dr Rekha Elaswarapu, Helping Hands Advisor on Dignity
A dignity code is being called for to protect elderly from abuse, undignified care and discrimination based on age as reported in the Daily Telegraph today.
This call has support from the minister for care services Paul Burstow and his Labour shadow, Liz Kendall, as well as charities, trades union organisations and academics. It is expected that all care provider organisations will have to sign up to this code and eventually it will become integral to the contracts of employment for staff in all care settings.
This joined up national steer is very welcome and no doubt will help to ensure that older people in all care settings are treated well and with dignity by staff who provide care for them. However it is important to note that dignity is everyone’s responsibility and staff need to be well supported by the organisation that they work for in ensuring that the care delivered is dignified and person-centred. A robust recruitment system, stringent training and clear mechanisms for reporting poor practice are vital for preventing compromises in dignity and abuse.
Helping Hands welcomes this announcement and are already working on a programme to embed dignity in all its functions. Its dignity pledge clearly identifies what people receiving care and their relatives can expect when engaging Helping Hands as their care provider.