LETTER: Call residents by their names

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Whether care homes should call residents by affectionate terms of endearment such as ‘sweetie’ or ‘darling’ caused quite some debate in the national media this week.

However, the advice from the Care Quality Commission to refrain from using what they call “patronising language” is nothing new and it was about six years ago that we first looked carefully at the regulator’s recommendations at The Old Vicarage and came to the conclusion they were right, overly affectionate names could be seen as demeaning by some of our residents.

My view is that in some towns and cities in the UK, people will happily call each other ‘love’ and ‘duck’ and that’s fine, but it may not be acceptable to some or even a few of our residents and, therefore, we encourage our team not to do so. 
We ask our team to use a resident’s preferred name, which might be completely different from their real name, a nickname, perhaps. We find this an informal and friendly approach, where no-one is going to get upset or embarrassed.

Ultimately, every resident should feel comfortable and as a matter of course, we talk to our managers to ensure everyone on the care team is clear on this policy. 
We firmly believe it’s the proper way to talk to residents and while people should feel as much at home as is possible when they go into care, they also need to feel respected at all times.

Dave Lock

The Old Vicarage Care Home, Clay Cross, Derbyshire