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Needs of older people in the UK "not always being met"

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the body responsible for regulating the 660,000 registered nurses and midwives in the UK, has published new guidance to support nurses in delivering expert and compassionate care for older people.  

Developed with input from over 300 nurses, carers and older people, it reflects the views of older people and carers across the UK that the needs of older people are not always being met when it comes to the care they receive.

The guidance can be used by employers to measure performance and is underpinned by the NMC Code of Conduct to help nurses provide safe, effective care, in a way that ensures an older person’s dignity and demonstrates respect. It contains practical examples across three core areas: the people, the process and the place.

The NMC wants to ensure the public has the confidence to report poor care as soon as it happens. Most people who said they wouldn’t report poor care said it was because they either wouldn’t want to make a fuss or didn’t expect compassion from a nurse.

In addition to guidance for nurses, it has produced a leaflet for the public. Care and respect every time was developed to help older people, their families and carers understand what level of care they should expect and how to challenge poor care. The leaflet will be available in English and Welsh, large print and as an audio file.

Kathy George, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Our primary role is to protect the health and wellbeing of the public and older people can be particularly vulnerable. Most of our nurses provide excellent care but unfortunately there are instances where some older people are not receiving the care they deserve.

"This Guidance will help support nurses in providing those elements of care that older people have told us make a real difference to their overall experience.”