February 1st is Dignity Action Day. Traditionally this day is recognized in the United Kingdom but Makin’ It Happen wanted to bring it across the Atlantic because of the importance of the message. Dignity Action Day #DAD2022 is an annual opportunity for health and social care workers, and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people who use care services. The campaign’s core values are about having dignity in our heart’s minds and actions, changing the culture of services, and placing a greater emphasis on improving the quality of care and the experience of citizens using services.   

We often think about dignity in care when it comes to caring for older adults and individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. However, for many experiencing mental health and substance use issues dignity in care is crucial. The loss of personal autonomy and self-esteem is something that those experiencing mental health issues often face. When caregivers offer clients dignity in their services it can make a difference to the overall healing and wellbeing of the individual receiving care. Dignity in care plays a role in a person’s recovery journey.  

There are ten core principles to Dignity in Care adopted by several countries that include:  

10 Dignity in Care Principles 

  1. Zero tolerance of all forms of abuse 
  1. Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family 
  1. Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalized service 
  1. Enable people to maintain the maximum level of independence, choice, and control 
  1. Listen and support people to express their needs and wants 
  1. Respect people’s privacy 
  1. Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution 
  1. Engage with family members and careers as care partners 
  1. Assist people to maintain confidence and positive self-esteem 
  1. Act to alleviate people’s loneliness and isolation. 

Today it is important to remember that when we provide individuals with dignity, we help support their recovery.