Council backs dignified care for the elderly with new code

Vice Chairman of Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board Cynthia Atkin with Chairman Scott Dickinson signing up to the Dignity Code.
Vice Chairman of Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board Cynthia Atkin with Chairman Scott Dickinson signing up to the Dignity Code.

An initiative to reinforce the importance of treating elderly people with dignity and respect has been backed by Northumberland County Council.

The annual Dignity Action Day took place on Sunday, February 1 to bring staff and the public together to make a positive difference to those receiving support.

The awareness day was celebrated at the National Pensioners’ Convention, and Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board Chairman Scott Dickinson went along to show the council’s support.

He said: “Treating everyone with dignity is a fundamental part of our council’s service ethos, but we can all do our bit to support vulnerable people, whether at work or in our communities.

“In this country we continue to hear terrible stories of the elderly being abused, neglected, abandoned and humiliated. Children are protected by law, but there is nothing there for older people.

“National Dignity Action Day aims to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives.

“It also gives everyone working in care services the chance to reflect on their work and the positive impact it has on the lives of the people they support.”

Coun Dickinson joined Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board Vice Chairman Cynthia Atkin in signing up to a Dignity Code, which aims to protect vulnerable elderly people and ensure they are treated with respect.

It promotes zero tolerance of all forms of abuse, personalised services for elderly people, independence, choice and control, rights to privacy, an appropriate complaints procedure, engagement with family members and friends of the person requiring care, action to alleviate loneliness and isolation, and help for elderly people to maintain confidence and self-esteem.

Dignity in Care Ambassador Dame Joan Bakewell said: “Dignity Action Day highlights a more respectful way of behaving towards vulnerable people.

“The very old and the very young clearly need our respect, but it wouldn’t do any harm to spread the dignity message across the population, then we can all benefit.”

More than two million health and social care staff work across the UK, providing round the clock care and support for those most in need.

As well as highlighting the needs of elderly people, the national action day aims to recognise thousands of staff who provide a dignified service in their place of work and continually strive to give the best care and support possible to people who are at their most vulnerable.