Belittling of elderly people in hospitals or care homes should be considered as severely racist or sexist abuse a report on dignity of older people has said.
People who are responsible for the elderly like doctors, nurses or care takers could be subjected to disciplinary actions for using words like “dear” or “chuck” without permission. It is to improve standards of dignity it is said.
The recommendation by a commission of senior NHS managers, charities and council chiefs drawn to weed out neglect and abuse in hospitals and in other care systems after the report found that the British society was treating older people as problems rather than equals.
The report says that the older people were suffering humiliation and undignified treatment on a daily basis with scant respect to their basic human rights.
The report has called for giving equal importance to human dignity as medical success rates or financial targets.
The commission had taken up collecting evidence from more than 40 organizations that are taking care of the elderly as well as doctors, nurses and carers, over a period of eight months. Most of the care homes, the commission found out were places which only fed, dressed and washed its residents but had not aspired beyond it.
The disregard for the needs and aspirations of older people has so permeated in the British system that the elders and their families fear that they will be branded as nuisance if they complain, the commission made up of Age UK, the NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association said.
It said that age discrimination was the most common form of prjudice in the UK. The increased life expectancy was being considered as a crisis or a population explosion rather than a major achievement the commission said.
It said that even neglectful care for just few days has devastating effect on the elderly which led to loss of self confidence as a result of ill treatment.
Patronizing was something which on daily basis left them depressed it was revealed.
One of the commissioners, Prof Trish Morris-Thompson, the chief nurse, said speaking to older people in a patronizing way amounted to a “failure of care” which should attract redress.