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Privacy and dignity in a hospice environment – the development of a clinical audit
  1. Edwina Gerry
  1. St Gemma's Hospice, Leeds, UK


Introduction Privacy and dignity are important aspects of the patient experience and are central to the philosophy of hospice care.

Aim To provide evidence of the standards of privacy and dignity afforded to patients in the wards and Day Hospice.

Method A review of key currents documents and an internet search of appropriate audits was undertaken to identify best practice for delivering care that provides privacy and dignity. Following discussion with clinical colleagues and with patients and carers in their respective forums, the following standards were developed.

All patients admitted to the In-Patient Unit and Day Hospice should receive care that

  • Respects their personal space

  • Respects their modesty

  • Protects their self- respect

  • Maintains good communication

  • Protects their confidentiality.

Questionnaires, using Likert scales, were devised for patients and different groups of staff – medical, nursing, allied health professionals, spiritual care team, catering and housekeeping teams. These were given to 30 patients and 130 members of the multi-disciplinary team.

Results The response rates were 91% (patients) and 78% (staff). Evaluation of the questionnaires showed that 70% of patients rated their satisfaction with privacy and dignity as “excellent” with the remaining 30% rating it “very good”. For the most part, the ratings of staff and patients were in agreement and indicated achievement of the expected standard.

Discussion Despite the good results there were some areas of concern identified. These included ensuring that hand washing was available for dependent patients prior to meals, closer monitoring of visitor numbers, avoiding interruptions to staff when with patients and maintaining privacy during conversations with staff. Important discussion took place within the teams regarding issues raised in the audit.

Conclusion An action plan was formulated to address the concerns and re-audit is planned for later in the year.

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