Within social care, dignity is seem as an important quality to strive for as someone desired by users. There is however a few things to consider here. The first is that if has made dignity an issue then people have made an assumption that social care is naturally indignant and therefore it highlights professionals and users attitude towards social care.
The second issue is what is dignity and who actually defines it. If we truly believe in people’s right to choose their lifestyle than we must accept that dignity is something only the user dictates. But this is not what is happening as professionals try to regulate dignity. I fear often dignity is what families, often middle class, dictate who users should be treated because they are discomforts as people looking in.
But when people need support, priorities will change and as Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs suggests when we are coping with the basics, we will have different priorities. While a family may perceive using a nappy indignant and their ‘loved one’ should be put in the toilet whatever it costs, the loved one may be so tired that they are fed up of being manhandled onto the toilet and would prefer a nappy at that time to save energy etc.
People with severe cp will often be very comfortable with nappies, bibs and many other stuff others are uncomfortable with. I know I get just offended with people refer to my nappies and pads, especially when they whisper the word to me as I am proud to use nappies.
So we must challenge notions of dignity to avoid the concept being used as a new form of social conformity.