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Dignity and respect 

Dignity and respect
Chapter:
Dignity and respect
Author(s):

Maria Flynn

, and Dave Mercer

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198743477.003.0007
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date: 22 October 2019

More than any other concept, ‘dignity’ captures the philosophical and professional essence of nursing. This chapter looks at how language and communication can play a pivotal role in the provision of dignified, respectful, and compassionate care. It is suggested that the promotion of dignity is a product of the professional identity of nurses and the healthcare culture within which care is enacted, acknowledging that core values need to be shared by the clinical team. Emphasis is given to practical ways nurses can utilize communication skills and take account of the physical environment, to sustain the emotional and humanistic components of caring about people, as well as for them. An important part of this process is valuing each person and working with them to develop individualized care based on shared decision-making. For certain groups of service users, there are additional challenges, and attention is given to communicating with older people, those who live with dementia, people with a learning disability, and individuals who have mental health issues or experience psychological distress.

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