The Reality of Dignity in Care

The Reality of Dignity in Care – when a person-centred approach is not met

Mum recently passed away and I felt the need to write this blog. I was honoured to provide end of life care for my mum with the help of my amazing sister.

Mum was a phenomenal woman. She successfully raised three children on her own without any financial assistance, whilst working a full-time job as a nurse in the NHS for 40 years. I am incredibly proud of her, she brought up three very strong women. Not long after qualifying as a nurse mum specialised and became a Theatre Nurse and Sister, mum was also promoted to what was then referred to the Nursing Manager of a Theatre Department and Outpatients.

Before I write about my mum’s short experience of her end of life care in hospital, I would like to mention that I am a huge supporter of all in healthcare, having worked as a Health Care Assistant many years ago before joining the Police, and we also a family tradition of working in healthcare.

Mum was admitted to hospital reluctantly due to jaundice, which was within days diagnosed as inoperable pancreatic cancer. My family were in shock as she had no obvious symptoms. Each day I would drive a three-hour round trip to the hospital to visit mum, which I was happy to do.

Mum was a very proud women and didn’t like to ask for help, she had poor eyesight due to macro degeneration, which meant she needed help to walk to the bathroom and also had a very specific diet due to a separate health condition. Mum had full mental capacity when she was admitted into hospital.

At the start of mums stay at hospital I asked her if she had managed to have a wash, she hadn’t for a quite a few days which was very unusual for mum. I could see from my daily hospital visits that the staff were busy, I took on the role of showering mum and helping her to the toilet whilst acknowledging that she didn’t like to ask for help.

Each day a member of staff would ask what mum would like for a meal and every time we would explain that due to mums heath condition she needed a specialist diet. Each time the staff member said they would make a note of it, but nothing changed and so I decided to bring food in for mum as at least I felt reassured she was eating some food, albeit in small amounts.

During mums stay in hospital, mum mentioned she hadn’t had any fresh water for a few days which I was surprised at, each day I would make sure it was changed, it was also clear that mum was barely drinking anything, but again she wouldn’t ask even though she had full mental capacity, she could see how busy the staff were.

Mum had been in the hospital for nearly two weeks when I was informed by a member of staff caring for mum that there was nothing on her records regarding macro degeneration and the specific dietary requirements amongst her other personal needs.

Our concerns peaked to breaking point when mum rang me one evening and begged me to get her out of hospital as she didn’t feel safe. That is when my sister and I worked hard to get mum discharged from hospital into our own private care at home. I was very concerned about mums’ care being neglected in hospital.

You may ask why am I sharing such personal information? What became clear to me, having been a Health Care Assistant many years ago before joining the Police and now delivering Safeguarding Adults training courses, was that there was a lack of dignity in care, promotion of her wellbeing, a lack of a person centred approach and making safeguarding personal. These are things I always raise awareness about in my training.

My recent personal experience has reinforced the importance of delivering an understanding of not only the statutory requirements outlined in the Care Act of 2014, The Mental Capacity Act and but also the supporting guidance to name but a few. 

What Does Promoting a Persons Wellbeing Mean?

What is Making Safeguarding Personal?

Making Safeguarding Personal sits firmly within the Department of Health’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance, as revised in 2017. It means safeguarding adults:

·        is person-led

·        is outcome-focused

·        engages the person and enhances involvement, choice and control

·        improves quality of life, wellbeing and safety (Paragraph 14.15)1.

·        Making Safeguarding Personal must not simply be seen in the context of formal safeguarding enquiries as defined in the Care Act as a Section 42 enquiry but in the whole spectrum of safeguarding activity.

Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home or a public place, while you’re in hospital or attending a day centre, or in a college or care home (words taken from this NHS website Abuse & Neglect of Vulnerable Adults).

My experience has made me even more passionate and determined to make a difference to safeguard adults. At the end of the day, it is everyone’s responsibility.

For help and advice regarding safeguarding Adults and the services we offer please visit our website or email info@safe-guarding .co or ring 07980 264671.