The aim of the following essay is to explore how nurses can ensure that
older people are treated with respect and dignity whist being cared for in
hospital or the community. The essay will seek to gain an understanding
of the biopsychosocial influences associated with dignity which affect the
Age concern describe dignity to mean that everyone is treated and
receives the care that meets their needs which enables them to live their
life how they want (age concern 2008). it is important that health care
professionals are aware of the ethical and non-ethical values necessary for
each patient to feel his or her dignity is fully respected
The ageing process effect a multidimensional process of physical,
psychological, and social change.. Some dimensions of ageing grow and
expand over time, while others decline. Reaction time, for example, may
slow with age, while knowledge of world events and wisdom may
expand. Research has shown that even late in life the potential exists for
physical, mental, and social growth and development. Ageing is an
important part of all human societies reflecting the biological changes
that occur, but also reflecting cultural and societal conventions. Religion
is often an important factor used by the elderly in coping with the
demands of later life, and appears more often than other forms of coping
later in life.
Ageism can be described as the expression of negative attitudes and
behaviours towards the aged (Bephage 2000).
The population of the United Kingdom is ageing. Over the last 25 years
the percentage of the population aged 65 and over increased from 15 per
cent in 1983 to 16 per cent in 2008, an increase of 1.5 million people for
this age group (office for national statistics 2009).
Which such a large and growing population of older people within our
society, which accounts for around two thirds of all hospital admissions
(DoH 2000). We as nurses must understand ageism at all levels in order
to tackle and reform the barriers, which have been created to discriminate
and the bad practice that is seen today.The issue of ageism affects the on
largest growing groups of people within our society – the eldery.
For many years the charity age concern has suggested that the issues of
age discrimination exited within our healthcare system, they finding were
published in 1999 (age concern 1999) showing clear evidence that older
people were being discriminated against within the healthcare system,
simply because of they age and often not being treated with the dignity
and respect they should be. These findings were later to be confirmed in
2008 in the document “ quality not inequality”. Figures from help the
aged show that 64% of older people think health and care staff don’t
always treat older people with respect for their dignity (help the aged
In response to this evidence “the NHS plan” (DoH 2000) identified a
shortfall of national standards as a main factor towards the failing of the
health service towards not delivering appropriate care for all.
In response to this and other evidence the department of health launched in 2001 the national service framework (NSF) for older people was introduced the aims of which was to help older people benfit from health and social care interventions that will help them reduce the period of disability and to increase the years of active healthy life.It stated that all care provided in hospital should respect the older person's dignity. The underpinning principle of the NSF was person-centred care central to this is respect for the patients values and how they understand and perceive what is happening. It included plans to eradicate age discrimination and to support...