Respecting patients' dignity
18 February 2013
Being in hospital can often be an alarming and bewildering time for patients, making them feel vulnerable and frightened.
And it is the simple things that can make all the difference -
things which uphold the person's dignity and respect; from ensuring
a patient is given a gown which does not gape, to being given a cup
of tea and a cake with a smile.
An awareness event held at Southend University showcased the
work being done at the hospital to ensure every patient is treated
as a person rather than a condition.
For example, bariatric gowns are now available for patients on
the larger side who find themselves in hospital, plus
specially-designed treatment wear for women who have suffered
The sterling service offered by Feeding Buddies, red-tabarded
volunteers who help encourage frail patients to eat, as well as
stay to chat over a meal, was also highlighted. Tasty high-calorie
treats given to patients with particularly poor appetites as part
of special snack rounds were on the menu for sampling.
The work being done to ensure patients with learning
disabilities are supported and made to feel comfortable while they
are at or in the hospital was also highlighted. Sarah Haines,
learning disability lead nurse, said: "Dignity and respect for
people with learning disabilities is key to their experience in
hospital. "It is also vital in order to improve their healthcare
outcomes and that we are inclusive in our approach to care and
"The awareness event was a great opportunity to share the good
work that is going on around the hospital and also suggest how we
Angela Cohen, matron for surgery, who also leads on dignity,
respect and good nutrition within the hospital, said: "The event
was a good way of showing how we translate our decisions into
actions, as well as getting feedback on how we can improve
The Dignity and Nutrition (DAN) event was held on Dignity Action
Day, an annual event spearheaded by TV star Joan Bakewell. The day
gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to upholding people's
rights to dignity and aims to ensure people who use care services
are treated as individuals and are given choice, control and a
sense of purpose in their daily lives.
Pic shows: nurses and Feeding Buddies at the event