Dignity in Care

The Dignity in Care program aims to change the culture of SA health services by reinforcing the importance of treating patients with dignity and respect.

Dignity in Care was first launched in Australia in early 2011 at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH), with Maggie Beer as the patron. The program started with 300 enthusiastic champions, and now has over 1000.


Dignity is concerned with how people feel, think and behave in relation to the value of themselves and others. To treat someone with dignity is to treat them in a way that is respectful of them and as valued individuals. In a care situation, dignity may be promoted or lessened by physical environment, organisation cultures, attitudes and behaviour of the nursing team or others. When dignity is present, people feel in control, valued, confident, comfortable and able to make decisions for themselves.

10 Dignity in Care Principles

  1. Zero tolerance of all forms of abuse
  2. Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family
  3. Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service
  4. Enable people to maintain the maximum possibly level of independence, choice, and control
  5. Listen and support people to express their needs and wants
  6. Respect people’s privacy
  7. Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution
  8. Engage with family members and carers as care partners
  9. Assist people to maintain confidence and a positive self esteem
  10. Act to alleviate people's loneliness and isolation.

Keep the heart in Dignity conference

Please view the 2014 Dignity In Care conference video below.

Speakers included:

  • Patron Maggie Beer talking about a "Good food life"
  • Paralympian and Disability Services Australia Dignity Ambassador Libby Kosmala
  • Author, poet and young onset dementia champion Kate Swaffer

Dignity Champions

Dignity Champions believe ensuring dignity and respect for people using care services is worth pursuing. To Dignity Champions, being treated with dignity isn't an optional extra, it's a basic human right. They believe it is not enough that care services are efficient. They must be compassionate too. Champions aim to work in partnership with care providers to improve the quality of services.

Role of a Champion

Dignity Champions:

  • stand up to disrespectful behaviour
  • act as role models by treating people with respect
  • speak up about dignity to improve services
  • influence and inform other staff.

A Dignity in Care Champion's role will vary according to knowledge and the type of work they are involved in. There are many small things that a champion can do with can have a big impact on people's lives.

A champion can choose how active they want to be, and there are no requirements which need to be met. Simply providing feedback on good or bad care with a thank you note to staff is being active in the role of a Dignity Champion.

Regular in-service and training at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, aims to provide those champions in the workplace with the knowledge and skills to guide other in promoting the 10 Dignity in Care principles within their area.

How to become a Champion

If you would like to become a champion email us at dignityincare@health.sa.gov.au or write to:

CALHN Dignity in Care
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Level 8B, 28 Woodville Road
Woodville South SA 5011

More information

Dignity in Care Australia

Dignity in Care Australia proudly support the Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign. With its partners, Dignity in Care Australia Champions aim to change the culture of Australian Health Services by reinforcing the importance of treating patients with dignity and respect. 

To learn more about Dignity in Care Australia and the 10 Dignity in Care Principles, please visit the Dignity in Care website. 

National Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign

The National Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign was officially launched in early 2016. This campaign will further commit CALHN and its partner organisations to implement strategies that will improve the recognition and care of patients with cognitive impairment within all care settings. It will also enhance the messages and lessons learnt from the CALHN ‘Dementia Care in Hospitals Program’ (DCHP), a national pilot program launched in April 2015.