How to Promote Dignity in Care Homes

James Hourihan, Author

Dignity in care is essential to maintain the quality of life of residents. This involves respecting an individual’s independence, individuality and beliefs, while also acknowledging their abilities and specific needs. 

It’s important to avoid any actions that could diminish their worth because of factors like age, gender, disability or medical condition. In doing so, care providers, managers and staff who work with older adults are able to foster a more open and supportive environment. 

Why is Promoting Dignity in Care Important?

When a person loses their dignity, they may feel dehumanised and vulnerable, leading to low self-esteem and depression. Residents may feel their dignity is sacrificed to meet the demands of daily care, which can have a negative impact on their overall wellbeing, causing dissatisfaction, isolation, and a breakdown of relationships. 

The promotion of dignity supports an individual’s sense of self-respect and ensures that seniors receive care tailored to their unique needs for them to be safe and secure in their living environment. It also prevents elder abuse and neglect, which is a critical issue. 

How Care Homes Uphold Dignity 

According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, there are eight factors to consider to help promote dignity in care.

Choice and control

Residents should have a say in major decisions such as medical treatment, activities and other aspects of their daily life – from deciding what they like to eat to choosing their own clothing, it gives people a sense of agency and control.


Effective communication is key to treating older adults in care with dignity and promoting a sense of empowerment among residents. Through active listening, care staff can establish clear and inclusive dialogue that fosters a deeper understanding of a person’s needs and preferences. 

Social inclusion

Encouraging residents to participate in social activities with peers and staff like gardening, puzzle games, arts and crafts or light exercises is essential to making them feel like valued members of the care home community. 

Pain management

Elderly people are more at risk of experiencing pain, but less inclined to complain or request medication for it. Therefore, identifying signs of pain or changes in behaviour is crucial to their wellbeing, and helps build stronger relationships when residents admit their pain. 

Personal hygiene

An individual’s personal appearance and hygiene are integral to their self-respect. For elderly people who require support, care workers should always ask for consent before assisting them to reassure residents of what is happening when it comes to washing, dressing or using the toilet. 

Eating and nutritional care

Staff should be attentive when it comes to residents’ dietary needs. Checking that the food is nutritious, good quality, and appetising, whilst being considerate to those who may take a little longer to eat will make mealtimes a  much more enjoyable experience for all. 

Practical assistance

Another way to promote dignity in care is providing practical assistance, if necessary. Simple tasks like cleaning, tidying, or helping to tie their shoe laces can make all the difference in a resident’s comfort and quality of life; having every opportunity to move and live as independently as possible.


Care homes must ensure residents’ privacy is respected at all times. This includes knock-and-wait procedures, respect for property in their room and personal boundaries, alongside nursing care conducted in a courteous and professional manner.

Help Promote Dignity in Your Care Home with Timian  

Here at Timian, we help organisations worldwide learn to understand and manage behaviour using person-centred approaches for better health outcomes and a stronger sense of community.

To book a one of our positive behaviour interventions training courses, call 0800 987 4075 for more information, or fill in the form on our website here and a member of our friendly team will be happy to help.

James Hourihan MSc Econ | FRSA | MIOD


Timian Learning and Development

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