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It’s curtains for dignity…

23 February 2015

Health Care

…and bras, shorts and a dignity barrier to boot. February is National Dignity Month and the hospital is raising awareness of its efforts to improve the patient experience.

Dignity is about treating patients as being of worth, in a way that is respectful of them as individuals. Dignified care, or the lack of it, can have a profound effect on patient well-being.

Chair of the hospital's dignity group, Angela Cohen, said: "Small but important measures that we have brought in at Southend Hospital really help put patients at ease, make them feel less vulnerable and anxious. It's an important part of our patient care and enables us to not just maintain it but to improve it.

"For many, coming into hospital can be a daunting experience and giving a patient their dignity with a paper bra or a paper pair of shorts, where previously they would have just been wearing nothing under their gown, can make a massive difference."

The hospital was one of the first in the country to start using paper bras, which it has been doing for the last 12 months and although they won't be winning any fashion awards anytime soon, they are practical, disposable and have been a massive hit. You could say that patients think they are 'bra-vellous'.

Angela concluded: "People say to me, 'what price is dignity?' And I tell them 12p a bra, for patients' and relatives' peace of mind."

The hospital is home to dignity curtains in patient rooms, dignity bras, dignity shorts and a dignity barrier in main outpatients that patients on trollies are shielded from view by coffee drinkers and sandwich eaters.

Find out more about dignity at: http://www.dignityincare.org.uk/

ENDS

Image: l-r HCA Jackie Hutcheson, chair of the dignity group Angela Cohen, HCA Elaine McDougall and associate practitioner Carole Metcalf.