It is every person’s fundamental right to be treated with dignity and respect, to have their wants and preferences recognized, and to have all that contributes to their perceived well-being, acknowledged. At Equilibrium Healthcare we make this one of our most fundamental core values and practices. But what is dignity and respect? And how can we as mental health professionals ensure that these rights are nurtured and maintained within a care home setting?


Today we will be discussing Dignity and Respect and how we can ensure every service user in our care can experience these rights.


Dignity and Respect in the Mental Health Sector


Within the health sector and specifically mental health where being detained under the section places certain restrictions on the individual, dignity and respect is an important aspect of service user care and must be at the core of the support being offered to service users. However, this could also be a challenge to implement sometimes due to a variety of contributory factors.. Such factors may include personal biases the individual professional may hold; stereotypes about mental health difficulties; behavioural presentation of service users; Limited knowledge of required skills among other factors. It is important that professionals are mindful of these challenges as it provides room for reflection and intentionality within the context of care and support being provided to service users. It is therefore the prerogative of professionals working within the mental health sector to ensure that the well-being of service users is taken into mindful consideration. This encompasses putting in place structure and creating opportunities which have the potential to enhance service users’ quality of life in terms of promoting confidence and self-worth, fostering a sense of belongingness as part of the society, reducing stigmatisation and discrimination, among others.  


As mental health professionals, an important question we may need to ask ourselves is how we are ensuring that the dignity and respect of our service users is being mindfully considered and at the fore front of what we do. Regulation 10 of the Health and Social Care Act of 2008 (, 2014), outlines what dignity is and what considerations should be made while giving care and treatment to service users. The Care Quality Commission (CQC 2023) summarizes regulation 10 as follows: 

“Providers need to ensure that the care and treatment they provide upholds people’s dignity and treats them with respect at all times. This entails treating everyone equally, granting them privacy when needed, and offering them any assistance they may require to be self-sufficient, independent, and engaged in their society.” 


Why is Ensuring the Dignity and Respect of Service Users Within Mental Health Services Important? 


It Promotes Person centred care

The Social Care Institute for Excellence, (2020) notes, ‘’ a person-centred approach to care underpins well-being’’. When therapeutic services and support are centred around an individual’s needs. It creates an awareness in the service user that their needs and perception are viewed as necessary and an important part of the treatment. This also promotes a sense of agency in the service user and may potentially enhance active engagement in treatment. 


It Promotes Autonomy

Recognising that service users have values, preferences, and a right to make decisions about their care and treatment is important. Dignity and respect involve empowering service users to be involved in decisions relating to their care and treatment. This strengthens their sense of agency and self-efficacy. Research shows that service users identified   respect for their choices and being involved in their care and treatment as important to them (Stephen Ekpenyong, M. et al. 2021). 


Positive outcomes

When service users feel respected and heard there is a positive effect on their mental health in diverse ways, which could include improved sense of self-worth, reduced feelings of otherness and an improved sense of belongingness; these together with other factors potentially improve quality of life and recovery outcomes.


Reduces stigmatisation

Stigma is a longstanding issue within mental health. It may result in individuals being unwilling/ unable to seek the appropriate treatment needed for their mental health difficulties. Supporting service users with dignity and respect could promote openness in speaking about their difficulties and concerns. This creates the opportunity to normalise mental health difficulties as well as promote a culture of acceptance and compassion.


Professional mindfulness

Sometimes counter transference could occur due a reaction the service user may have triggered in a professional. Ensuring the dignity and respect of service users enables the professional to be reminded of the service users unique treatment needs as well as effective ways to interact with the service user in a way that re-traumatisation may be reduced or prevented. 


Eleanor Independent Hospital

At Equilibrium Healthcare we work with our service users to ensure that their dignity and respect is maintained. Highlighted below are some of the ways the dignity and respect of service users is ensured and maintained at our Eleanor service. 


  • Person centred care. Service users care and treatment are powered by their treatment needs. Service users are part of decision-making process in relation to their care. Co production is one strategy utilised at Eleanor to ensure that service users preferences and needs are included, and their voices are heard. These drive the services we provide. 
  • Care plans are developed in collaboration with service users because they are better placed to let the team know what their needs are and what strategies might produce better outcomes and improved quality of life. 
  • Promote a strength-based approach to careAreas of strength of service users are identified and recognised. Service users are provided with resources and opportunities to build on their existing areas of strength. This is achieved through provision of activities and opportunities within and outside the hospital. Service users access leaves to the community and are engaged in community events which promotes their confidence, increases their sense of self-worth, and reduces the perceived feeling of otherness with the overall aim of improving their quality of life.
  • A supportive environment. At Eleanor, the environment feels homely and service users’ privacy is maintained. Staff ensure that they knock or verbally let the service user know when staff need to complete checks or offer required support. Service users views and opinions are sought and included when improvements are considered on the ward. This is because this is where service users live, and it is important that the ward environment is made as comfortable as possible for them.  



Care Quality Commission (2023) Regulation 10: Dignity and respect, Regulation 10: Dignity and respect – Care Quality Commission. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2023).  
Equality and Human Rights Commission (2021) Article 8: Respect for your private and Family Life, Article 8: Respect for your private and family life | EHRC. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2023). (2014) The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulated activities) regulations 2014, Available at: (Accessed: 07 November 2023).  
Social Care Institute for Excellence (2020) Defining dignity in care: Scie, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Available at: (Accessed: 07 November 2023).  
Stephen Ekpenyong, M. et al. (2021) ‘Exploring the perceptions of dignity among patients and nurses in hospital and community settings: An integrative review’, Journal of Research in Nursing, 26(6), pp. 517–537. doi:10.1177/1744987121997890.  
Toersen, N. (2023) Dignity and respect in care – how you can promote it, The Access Group. Available at:,and%20capacities%20without%20undermining%20them (Accessed: 08 November 2023).