New SCIE Resource Supports Dignity And Respect In Care

A new Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) practice guide supports the Department of Health (DH) campaign to ensure that older people who receive health and social care services are treated with dignity and respect. Practice guide 9: Dignity in care offers a wealth of resources and practical guidance to help service providers and practitioners in developing their practice. It also provides information for service users about what they can and should expect from health and social care services.

Commenting on the importance of dignity, Chief Executive of SCIE, Bill Kilgallon, said: “Dignity is not always easy to define, but what is clear is that people know when they have not been treated with appropriate dignity and respect. By focussing on key areas like communication, mealtimes, social inclusion and complaints, as well as bringing together links to other resources, training packages and practice questionnaires, this guide will help social care workers make the small changes that make a big difference.

“The message from research is clear – dignity in care obviously has meaning for older people. Recognising and respecting what it means to them – in terms of autonomy, privacy, respect, identity and sense of self worth – and designing practice to support it, contributes to older people’s well-being, and, ultimately, to what makes their lives worth living. Dignity is never simple, but always important.”

The guide also includes the Dignity Challenge – a clear statement of what people can expect from a service that respects dignity. It is backed up by a series of ‘dignity tests’ that can be used by providers, commissioners and people who use services to see how their local services are performing.

Factors which protect, support and promote the dignity of older people in health or social care contexts are grouped under the headings of resilience, rights and person-centred care. While the threats to dignity are identified as ageism, inequality, disadvantage and discrimination and abuse.

The guide supports the aims of the Government White Paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say. It covers issues raised in the DH’s nation-wide consultation events and will be updated as part of their ongoing Dignity in Care campaign.

To complement the aims of Dignity in Care, SCIE has also updated Practice guide 02: Assessing the mental health needs of older people. This guide focuses on some of the specific mental health problems that older people may experience and aims to
help practitioners in mainstream, non-specialist settings to develop their knowledge and skills.

To access Practice guide 09: Dignity in care visit

For further information on the Department of Health’s Dignity in Care campaign visit