Dr. Nicola Finley (Internist)
Dignity in Caregiving
Caregiving is an integral part of our society. We have all given care to someone or received care from someone. It could have been a friend, family member or neighbor. It’s a way that we can do a good deed for another person. An important aspect of caregiving is preserving dignity.
How do we promote dignity in caregiving? Research exploring dignity highlights that people have a variety of perspectives about dignity. However, common themes tend to emerge. Here are three key themes:
1. Respect – A salient feature of dignity is respect. With caregiving specifically, respect for a person’s privacy is a particular focal point. This involves being mindful of a person’s personal space as well as body exposure. Maintaining a person’s modesty is way to demonstrate respect.
2. Choice – Another integral component of dignity is offering choices and control to the person that you are giving care for. An example of providing this independence could be giving them the option of making their own decisions about their personal care like skin care.
3. Communication – Caregiving involves communicating with compassion as well as placing an emphasis on listening. When providing dignified care, it’s important that the person feels that they are being listened to. Also, this means observing non-verbal cues like body language.
Dignity is an essential quality when caring for others. When you promote dignity, you empower others. Fostering that sense of pride can augment their own self-worth. In short, providing care with dignity impacts the person being cared for in many powerful ways.