Dignity in Care

Topics: Health care, Health care provider, Patient Pages: 7 (2473 words) Published: January 8, 2013
Word Count 2450


Definition of dignity; the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect.(the free dictionary 2011).This definition seems short, however the concept of dignity is more profound, the nurse should use her inner tool thus being feelings , empathy, compassion and use these productively.(Haddock 1996). The reasonable expectation that an older person , may have of dignified, nursing ,care in clean surroundings in hospital is not being fulfilled in some cases This essay will discuss the concepts of dignity, and discuss the importance of dignity in nursing care. Illustrating the significance in protocols, and furthermore, giving the patient the best possible outcome. We shall examine the guidelines set by the Nursing and midwifery council (NMC) and how important it is for nurses to uphold these standards, when delivering care to the patient. We shall also look at the aging process, and how illnesses cannot simply be put down to ‘age’, discussing how medication can affect the elderly and also how it can help. Highlighting the need for nurses not to become robotic at tasks as delicate as the one giving throughout this essay , the need to empathise and give the patient as much dignity as possible. Also looking at infection control, and how critical it is in the clinical setting for the health care team, and also for the patient’s health. Following guidelines from National institute for health and clinical excellence (NICE), the Department of Health (DH) and several studies with regards to infection control , and health matters such as health promotion and how it can empower the patient which can help in their dignity. Looking at how the muti-disciplinary team help with the overall care and how important to work as a team to gain the best outcome. Reviewing my own personal journey as I have done research into dignity and reflect upon my own practice, and how it may change or enhance my future nursing care.

Len Chambers is an elderly gentleman in your care. He is not confused or disorientated but is anxious, hard of hearing and physically frail, needing assistance to walk. The doctor has just finished the consultation and tells you that “Mr. Chambers needs to go to the toilet”. There is a smell of faeces, Mr. Chamber’s trousers and shoes are wet with urine, and he appears agitated and upset. With reference to the NMC Professional Code of Conduct (2008) describes the actions that you will take to promote and maintain this client’s dignity.


The concept of dignity is an individual right, everyone has equal worth has human beings. To treat someone with dignity, is by giving that person worth in a way that values them as an individual, as suggested by Milburn patients like to be recognized and treated with respect (Milburn et al 1995), and with this being their birthright, it must also continue after death. Dignity should be applied equally to people who have the capacity or not, whether that is of a physical or mental state, what must be paramount is the individuals self value and worth. In care circumstances, the concept of dignity can be encouraged or weakened depending on factors such as environment and attitude of healthcare staff. By giving the patient dignity, this then empowers them to make choices, which then gives them confidence to make decisions on their care. (NMC 2008). The code of professional conduct (NMC 2008) will guide my actions, in giving the care for Mr Chambers. The code of conduct states to treat the patient as an individual, and respect their dignity. Approaching Mr Chambers, I would introduce myself and ask him how he would like to be addressed; the rationale for this is to let Mr Chambers know who he is talking to and also gives him the respect of name choice, thus keeping in with the guidelines of the code and promotes autonomy. However reflecting back on my own practice and some male patients can be...
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