Dignity campaign 2010

Good practice guide
Good practices guides focus on providing information on a clinical topic.
Jackie Morris
Date Published:
19 February 2010
Last updated: 
03 March 2010

The BGS launched a campaign, in 2010, to raise awareness that people, whatever their age and physical ability, deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, humanity and compassion. Care must be delivered by staff who put the individual at the centre by listening to them and or their relatives, and dignity and respect is everybody's responsibility.

This followed the previous campaign in 2006: 'Behind Closed Doors: The Use of the Toilet as a Marker of Human Rights'.

Together with a group of both charities and professionals we set down some basic principles and standards covering five key areas: eating and drinking, using the toilet, dignity and respect, mobility and communication (see below). We produced a poster to promote these principles, which can be downloaded from this page, together with an A5 summary, also available below.


Does the person

  • Need any help with eating?
  • Need special cutlery or equipment?
  • Have the opportunity to wash their hands before and after eating?
  • Has the person been given a choice of food and drink?
  • Does the person have any difficulty swallowing?
  • Ensure a choice of food and drink to meet any special needs.
  • Make sure food and drink is in easy reach.
  • Help with eating and drinking if needed.
  • Let the person take their time – eating should be a sociable and pleasurable activity.

Has the person had an assessment of their toileting needs i.e.

  • How frequently they require the toilet
  • What aids they require

Has the person's privacy and dignity been maintained?

  • Does the person have a choice regarding their use of the toilet?
  • Offer timely and prompt assistance if required
  • Offer the opportunity for hand washing and check fingernails for cleanliness and length.
  • Treat the person as an individual
  • Be aware of the person’s ability to understand and make decisions for
  • themselves. Never make assumptions based on a diagnosis.
  • Do your best to make people in your care feel happy, comfortable and included
  • What is the impact of your behaviour and your actions on the individual?
  • The person how they would like to be addressed
  • The person about their preferences, wishes and cultural needs,
  • family set up and life story.
  • Involve the person, and their next of kin when appropriate,
  • in all discussions and decisions
  • Make sure the person has as much choice as possible in their clothing, as in all areas of their life.
  • Is the person able to leave their bed/chair and move around without help?
  • If they need any equipment, is it available?
  • Have any risks been identified and addressed?
  • How can you help them maintain or regain their independence?
  • The person (or their next of kin) about their NORMAL mobility and routine
  • Encourage the person to move around
  • Ensure that walking aids are available and accessible
  • Check the person’s foot hygiene and toenails
  • Ensure the person’s footwear is clean and well fitting
  • Ensure the person has appropriate seating and is positioned correctly.
  • Have you have understood the person and has the person understood you?
  • Has the person been assessed for hearing, sight and language difficulties?
  • If any aids they are using are working correctly.
  • Use plain language and simple explanations
  • Maintain eye contact with the person.


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