Patient dignity and safety
Perspectives of health personnel on how to preserve and promote the patients’ dignity in a rehabilitation context
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Volume 22, Issue 15-16, pages 2318–2326, August 2013
How to Cite
Caspari, S., Aasgaard, T., Lohne, V., Slettebø, Å. and Nåden, D. (2013), Perspectives of health personnel on how to preserve and promote the patients’ dignity in a rehabilitation context. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22: 2318–2326. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12181
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 8 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 NOV 2012
- Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
Aims and objectives
To explore how healthcare personnel comprehend the term dignity and what they do to attend to, preserve and promote the dignity of patients in the rehabilitation context.
Literature reveals that knowledge exists concerning the nature of dignity. Literature is scant on how health personnel think the reasons may be when patients do not maintain their dignity or how caregivers might improve and strengthen their concern in preserving and promoting the patients' dignity in a rehabilitation context.
The study was explorative and descriptive, with content analysis of gathered empirical data.
Qualitative focus group interviews with representatives from the staff at three different rehabilitation centres were carried out. Professionals within different occupations were represented at the meeting: nurses, ergonomists, physiotherapists, psychologists, medical doctors, social workers, auxiliary nurses and speech therapists.
Dignity is promoted when the patient himself becomes an active agent, when the patient's feelings and thoughts are respected, when the family of the patient is included and listened to, when the patient is free to make critical comment, when members of staff are able to cope with the patient's disabilities and when the aesthetic environment is attended to and enhanced. Dignity is not promoted when health personnel override or dominate patients, when health personnel focus merely on the patient's diagnosis and not the sick person and when health personnel and/or relatives try to impose their own values.
The staff working in institutions to rehabilitate patients with head injuries and multiple sclerosis must be aware and sensitive to the importance of maintaining and supporting the patient's dignity and self-respect.
Relevance for clinical practice
The results from this project confirm the importance of acknowledging the patient's self-worth as a human being, unconditionally. This might be essential in promoting and preserving the patients' dignity.