Call to ban patronising care staff
Patronising language used by hospital and care home staff towards older people should be banned, a report on improving dignity in care has recommended.
Terms such as "old dear" and "bed blocker" must become as unacceptable as sexist or racist expressions, the report's authors said.
They also called for medical or nursing students or other potential recruits who fail to show enough compassion towards older people to be barred from entering the health and care professions.
Hospital ward sisters meanwhile should play a leading role in ensuring dignified care for patients, the report said.
Issuing a call to end the "persistent failings" in the care system, the Commission on Dignity in Care, established as part of a joint initiative from the NHS Confederation, Age UK and the Local Government Association (LGA), said the care of older people needed fundamental change.
Its draft report said: "Expressions such as 'bed blockers' imply older people are a burden or a nuisance.
"Referring to them by illness reduces them to a clinical condition rather than recognising them as a person. And using patronising language such as 'how are we today dear?' belittles them.
"Language that denigrates older people has no place in a caring society - particularly in caring organisations - and should be as unacceptable as racist or sexist terms."
Speaking at the report's launch, Professor Trish Morris-Thompson of NHS London said she would expect to see "a form of redress" for anyone using such patronising language.
She added: "If someone says 'oh there's an old dear in bed four', that's patronising."