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Dignity in a tick box?

I am sharing this post which I have added to the dignity forum because I would like to know how others feel about such standards of management/leadership.

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Dignity Doesn’t Come in a Tick Box

I am a dedicated dignity champion myself and therefore am disgusted that such an important cause is still able to fall victim to the all too familiar ‘tick a box and done’ attitude and practices of managers in some areas.

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I have recently witnessed an establishment clearly show their apparent lack of respect for dignity or indeed for common decency in my eyes. So they want to say they are dignity champions and maybe even get a press release out of it so they wrote a list and started to tick off what was needed:

  • They introduce a tree and call it dignity.tickbox
  • Print off a resource pack.
  • Register themselves on the dignity site with a single sentence stating their passion, commitment, aims, etc next to their name.
  • They then add several staff names to certificates and off they go to the printer again.
  • Press release written.
  • Line manager informed that the job is done.

All tasks completed. All boxes ticked.

Task masters they may well claim to be but dignity champions they certainly are not.

I am saddened that these managers in their now proudly ‘dignity championed environment’ do not feel it necessary to complete any of the audits to actually action a plan for enhancement or indeed any other steps that would improve standards of care. They do not feel it necessary to engage staff in the introduction of their new practice/pledge/commitment. Unfortunately they hold so little regard for the entire initiative that actually they didn’t even feel the need to ask the staff they have named and certificated if they wanted to champion dignity at all.

So with staff names now proudly advertised in the main entrance they can safely dismiss any actual work to introduce or change anything in their advertised culture change of great compassion and care. The only benefit of this fake show of care being so well placed in the entrance is that the staff they have named as dignity champions have seen it and so at least now they are aware as apposed to being completely oblivious.

Health and care professionals nationwide work so hard to raise awareness and inspire others to also pledge to ensuring their practices are indeed promoting dignity that this disregard really does grate.

Such pride and celebration is held by establishments when they come to advertise their dedication to the dignity campaign that I do not feel that it should be able to be used as a tick box to a press release in such a way as these have done.red-box-cross-square-wrong

It is disrespectful and in my opinion only benefits the marketing department and potentially the companies monetary value at best. With no desire to work towards even a tiny glimpse of any of the aims and objectives of the campaign being even considered this company is surely more proof that we have still got a challenge on if we are to see this country become one of dignified care provision.

It is scary to witness such blatent disregard from those who should be inspiring others through their own care and practices. What further adds to this sad tale is that the actual grassroots staff members would have been fully engaged and passionately taken the concept and ran with it had they been given the chance.

I hope the tree gets chopped down because it certainly hasn’t got the roots to grow in strength.

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Changeday? What has that got to do with me?

“What’s it got to do with me!?”

I’m pretty sure every person that reads this has heard that statement and felt the negativity hit like a freight train. Sadly when I initiate conversations about NHS Changeday I get this comment from time to time but I LOVE IT!

You see it gives me that opening to flip someone’s whole thought process and attitude on its head. Let me explain, to me these people tend to be ignorant or uneducated about what Changeday can do for them. Human nature naturally makes people feel interest when there’s something in it for them, so let’s for example imagine a Porter.

Porters are an invaluable asset and members of our services but they are not clinicians and as such tend not to get involved in some initiatives because they don’t feel they are relevant. Well here comes Changeday!

So this Porter transports patients from Ward A to Treatment area B, to do this the quickest route is straight through the centre of the hospital down the same artificially lit drab corridors which takes on average 7 minutes. After a conversation with a particular patient about this mundane journey our Porter decides he’s going to do something different (shock, horror, gasp).

One day the Porter decides to take the long way around, along different corridors that have windows facing the outside world. Whilst on this journey Mrs Patient sees a squirrel scurry across the grass, her face lights up with a joyous grin as a memory of a day trip to a country park with her late husband starts replaying in her head. Now during the remainder of the journey stories are exchanged and Mrs Patient starts to feel like a human being again.

The benefit to our Porter, well he got the satisfaction of sharing this ladies story but also a warm and more importantly sincere thank you upon arriving at their destination. The cost of this little change? Simply 2 minutes added to the journey. This one small change made a massive difference not only to Mrs Patient but to every future patient our Porter transported because he simply dared to do something different.

As a society we sometimes forget the importance of the little things and the impact they can have, so I say to these people it has everything to do with you. You can change the little things, you can dare to be different and you can do something positive. You really do have the power to make a difference and all it takes is that one positive thought.