The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is planning to bring out new guidelines for nurses in the treatment of elderly patients. Nurses are not to address their old patients with endearments such as 'love' or 'dearie', without the consent of the patients.
Elderly patients must be asked as to how they would like to be addressed. Addressing them appropriately with respect is paramount, the council advised.
Further, the proposed regulation will take serious cognisance of irresponsible statements made by nurses such as "I'm not your nurse", or "I don't know, I have been on holiday" and "that's not my job". Rightly, such expressions do into serve the purpose, and they could have an adverse effect of dampening patients' morale.
The guidelines are also close on the heels of a recent campaign by the Royal college of Nursing which advised nurses to address elderly patients with respect and courtesy.
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said: "The Royal College of Nursing completely supports these guidelines. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and that doesn't change when it comes to healthcare. For a long time, we've been saying that nurses should ask patients how they would like to be addressed.
"The RCN Dignity campaign is about making sure that every nurse can take steps to make patients feel comfortable in potentially difficult circumstances. Addressing patients properly is one small step that staff can and have taken to improve care."
The guidelines, compiled after seeking the opinion of elderly patients, will serve as a reckoner for the nurses, and is scheduled to be published in May 09.