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Date updated: 12/11/2020

The purpose of the Dignity Code is to maintain the personal dignity of older people, ensuring their health, safety and wellbeing, particularly of those who are increasingly less able to care for themselves.

The Code recognises that certain practices and actions, such as being abusive or disrespectful are unacceptable and that people should be treated with respect in all areas of their lives, including privacy, personal care and choices.

The Code calls for

Choice and Control

  • the right information given to support decision making
  • respect for personal property
  • involvement in decision making about their care and treatment


  • being listened to and included in conversations
  • being told the truth and given clear explanations
  • treated with courtesy by staff

Eating and Nutrition

  • choice of what, when, and where to eat and availability of additional food
  • food that respects their religious and cultural beliefs
  • appropriate and sensitive assistance with eating and drinking if required


  • choice of types of pain relief and responsibility for own pain relief
  • right to refuse treatment
  • range of treatments to manage pain

Personal Care

  • assistance that reflects personal needs and wishes, including choice of carer
  • intimate care that is sensitively provided and agreed beforehand, including gender preference
  • respect for personal possessions

Social Inclusion

  • equality of treatment
  • respecting their religious and cultural needs
  • contact being maintained with friends and families


  • confidentiality should be observed at all times
  • privacy should be respected when using the toilet/bathroom and in providing personal care
  • privacy should be maintained when being examined, treated, or discussing conditions

End of Life Care

  • the opportunity to discuss personal wishes, including the choice of where to die and who to be with
  • respect for advance directives such as living wills
  • sensitivity to cultural and spiritual needs