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Patient Dignity and Person Centred Integrated Care

patient in a hospital bed being attended by a nurse

Over the last decade, a changing hospital population has seen the number of older, frailer people rise and the issue of patient dignity rise with it

This has brought patient dignity and the need for integrated care to the forefront of NHS policy. LSBU's Prof Lesley Baillie has emerged as a leading light in this drive. To crown her vision and dedication, Prof Baillie was appointed Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair of Clinical Nursing Practice in October 2012. Based within the Faculty of Health and Social Care at LSBU, and University College London Hospitals, where she teaches and carries out research in a unique inter-professional doctoral programme.

Professor Baillie has played a central role in developing and implementing the very successful Dignity Campaign with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). In 2011 she co-produced a book on Dignity in HealthCare; the only work of its kind.

"A patient's quality of experience is very important. It is not just about having good quality technical safe care, which is very important as well. We must consider the way that care is delivered" Prof Leslie Baillie.

She points out that it's quite complex to maintain someone's dignity at all times. Patients may not feel valued and are left feeling undignified if they are in a poor quality hospital environment where they also have limited control and privacy.

"For work in healthcare, dignity is everyone's business. A patient's experience of dignity is affected by everything that happens to them." Prof Baillie

Definition of Dignity and RCN Campaign

Professor Baillie, who completed her doctorate on the subject of dignity, not only developed a working definition about Dignity for the RCN, but was a consultant for its 2008-09 Dignity Campaign aimed at the nursing work force. For this she developed a variety of resources including a facilitators' pack that was  widely promoted by the RCN and used by nurses all over the country. The RCN's definition of Dignity says: "Dignity is concerned with how people feel, think and behave in relation to the worth or value of themselves and others. To treat someone with dignity is to treat them as being of worth, in a way that is respectful of them as valued individuals".

As the Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair of Clinical Nursing Practice she's focusing on integrated care that encourages dignity with well-coordinated seamless care for people in different settings. She explains, "with integrated care people should feel they are more valued and respected human beings, instead of their care being fragmented".

When in integrated care a patient is placed at the centre of care and this is new NHS policy for all providers and trusts.

"So people might go into hospital and then go on to carry on their care in the community, in a less acute setting or they may go on to another hospital admission. It is about making care as joined up as possible." Prof Baillie

Dementia Support

This emphasis on patient dignity and integrated care is also part of a drive to support people with dementia, who are more vulnerable to their dignity being threatened. Professor Baillie says there is a lot of work to be done in society to improve how older people are treated, and in particular those with dementia. She points out that there is a drive to create dementia friendly cities and communities, like the city of York that has undertaken the York 'Dementia without Wall's project to make the city a good place to live for people with dementia and their carers.

LSBU's Inter-Professional Doctorate

LSBU is unique in offering an inter-professional doctorate with nursing, radiography, occupational therapy and physiotherapy pathways. The first two years are taught inter-professionally, followed by three years research with a supervisor to obtain a doctorate through a programme designed for people well established in the profession. Professor Baillie teaches on the Doctoral and Masters programmes and undertakes supervision and research.

"This is a very strong Health and Social Care faculty, with a well developed record in nursing and other health professions. It has very strong relationships with some of the leading NHS Trusts in London." Prof Baillie.

Commenting on LSBU as a whole, she describes it as a vibrant community, very positive and open to ideas. "I think it is well organised with good support services and resources, and we have got a great new building in which to work." Find the K2 building on our maps webpage.

 
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