Staff throughout Walsall Healthcare’s hospital and community services are supporting Dignity Action Day today, an annual opportunity for health and social care workers and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and provide a memorable day for those using care services.
The Trust’s Learning Disability nurses have arranged for the Harmony Choir to sing in the main atrium of the Manor Hospital today and will be raising awareness about the work that has been done to support adults with a Learning Disability who access healthcare services.
Learning Disability nurse Leanne McKay explained: “We have worked closely with colleagues in our Emergency and Imaging Departments, as well as with porters, security and reception staff so that people coming into the hospital faced with an unfamiliar environment are made to feel as comfortable as possible.
“A busy hospital is full of sights and sounds that can make people feel anxious and afraid and we do “de-sensitisation” visits with patients with a Learning Disability before their appointments so they can better understand their surroundings, talk to friendly staff and ask any questions or tell us about anything worrying them.
“For inpatients with a Learning Disability dignity is our priority. We support their individual needs and this is especially important if they are unable to voice their needs themselves, We also ensure that family and carers are given the opportunity to advocate for their loved ones during this time.”
“We have a hospital passport tool we use which means that a record goes with the patient wherever they attend so they don’t have to keep explaining things from scratch and we can also reassure patients and their carers or family that we will communicate with them in a way that best suits them – whether that is with easy read documents or using a communication aid. This Dignity Action Day gives us all an opportunity to reflect on how we can enhance our patients’ experience with dignity and respect at the forefront of everything we do.”
The Harmony Choir, whose members have a Learning Disability, will be in the main atrium from 11am to 11.45am.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has also signed up to John’s campaign – encouraging family and carers of patients with dementia to be given the right to stay with their loved ones in hospital.
Jennifer Robinson, the Trust’s Lead Nurse Older People and Vulnerable Adults, said: “Dignity Action day gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to upholding people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people receiving care. Dignity Action Day aims to ensure people in care are treated as individuals, are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily activities and are provided with stimulating activities.
“We are reminding everyone of The Dignity Do's today which are:
- Have a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse
- Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family
- Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service
- Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control
- Listen and support people to express their needs and wants
- Respect people’s right to privacy
- Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution
- Engage with family members and carers as care partners
- Assist people to maintain confidence and a positive self esteem
- Act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation
We can also challenge each other to undertake an action to improve Dignity in Care."