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Privacy & Dignity: What they mean and how they can be maintained or compromised

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

Privacy and dignity are person-centred values that all care workers should be familiar with when performing their day-to-day practice.

What is privacy?

Privacy is giving people space as and when they need it and respecting personal confidential information about them that you may have access to.

What is dignity?

Dignity is respecting and valuing the individuals that you work with, which can include treating them with care and compassion, respecting their views and wishes and providing personalised care.

How can privacy & dignity be compromised and maintained?

Privacy and dignity can be maintained in day-to-day practice if you get to know the individuals that you work with, take a genuine interest in them and work with person-centred values.

The privacy and dignity of an individual can be compromised if care workers do not value or respect them.

The table below gives several examples of good and bad practice, where the good practice maintains an individual’s dignity and privacy and the poor practice compromises it.

Maintains privacy and dignityCompromises privacy and dignity
Knocking before entering the individual's roomWalking into an individual's room without knocking
Greeting and speaking to an individualIgnoring an individual whilst carrying out your work
Asking for consent before touching an individual to carry out personal carePerforming personal care without asking for the individual's consent
Only sharing personal information about an individual on a need-to-know basisTelling an individual's family and friends personal information about an individual without their consent or good reason
Ensuring doors/curtains are closed before carrying out personal careLeaving an individual's bedroom door open whilst carrying out personal care
Ensuring clothing/robes/gowns are arranged in a dignified mannerNot doing anything if an individual is inadvertently exposing themselves