How Care Environments can Promote and Undermine People’s Dignity and Rights

Putting individuals who receive care and support in control of their care can reduce the chance of abuse and neglect happening. It means making sure that in any care environment dignity and rights are promoted:

  • Lines of communication between individuals and workers are always open
  • Relationships are based on trust
  • Individuals are aware that they can share their concerns or complain and that they will be taken seriously
  • Individuals are supported to be as independent as possible to reduce their reliance on others who may take advantage of them
  • Individuals know their rights and understand how they can expect to be treated.

Care environments can promote dignity and rights by ensuring the following rights are upheld:

The right to choose – making a choice is the same as making a decision. Being able to make decisions which directly affect our lives and the services we have is empowering. Enabling a person to make their own choice is the most direct way in which a person can exercise control over their life. The individuals you support should be given the choice about how they wish their needs to be met, who should meet them and when these needs should be met. All individual’s who are able to make a particular decision have a right to do so. The Mental Capacity Act, 2005 gives clear guidance on this right in terms of those who have the capacity and those who do not have the capacity to make a particular decision.

The right to participate as an equal – all individuals have the right to participate on an equal basis in mainstream society and not to be segregated from it. This means that people have the right to become involved in their local and wider communities and not prevented from doing so. They have a right to use mainstream services if they wish.

The right to equality of opportunity – all individuals under the Equality Act 2010, should have an equal chance to maximise their independence and participation. We have a responsibility to identify and break down the barriers to equality to enable this happen and this includes preventing discrimination and challenging prejudice.

How Care Environments can Promote people’s Dignity and Rights

Respect – we must respect the person which includes understanding their right to be different and. Respect should be given by the way we interact with them, communicate with them and in the way in which we involve the person in all we do. Staff need to show the individual that they are respected at all times. We must not allow our prejudices or the prejudices of others influence the way in which we work.

Dignity – Understanding what does and does not compromise a person’s dignity can only take place if we respect and value a person. Putting ourselves in their place, understanding and using empathy is helpful. It is important to know that people’s feelings and views differ on what is/is not acceptable or what is/is not tolerable. The person may view things differently, they may feel they wish to keep private something that we might willingly share with others e.g. information about their age or where they live or their past. Asking a person how they wish to be supported prevents us from infringing their dignity.

Individuality and identity – people are individuals with their own history, values, cultural and social bonds. Personalised services identify and meet need in the way the person feels most acceptable and appropriate. Providing a one-size-fits-all service or limited choices are more likely to result in the person experiencing discrimination.

Independence – people have a right to be enabled to maximise their independence and to be supported in ways which enable them to do things independently. This does not only mean maintaining the skills they have but it is also enabling them to learn new ones. This involves us recognising people’s strengths as well as their levels of dependency. It does not mean neglecting people or leaving them to struggle where they need support.

How Care Environments can Undermine People’s Dignity and Rights

  • Doing things ‘for’ rather than ‘with’ the person
  • Not involving a person in the decision making process
  • Having a ‘one size fits all’ approach
  • Not following the law or regulations
  • Having a reactive approach and being risk adverse
  • Poor management of services
  • Not complying with the CQC’s registration requirements
  • Not cooperating on abuse investigations or responding inappropriately etc.

In cases such as Winterborne View and the Mid-Staffordshire hospitals people’s basic rights were violated so much that it resulted in people experiencing abuse over a prolonged period of time and on repeated occasions.

Use to answer question 10.2a of the Care Certificate

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