Nurses are key to driving up standards, according to leading older people's charity Help the Aged responded to the results of a survey of more than two thousand nurses by the Royal College of Nursing which found that eight out of ten nurses admit they have left work feeling upset or distressed because they have not been able to ensure their patients have been treated with dignity.

Charlotte Potter, Senior Health Policy Officer at Help the Aged said:

"Establishing and maintaining dignity for patients is an issue of paramount importance - patients, in particular older people, cite privacy and dignity as a primary area of concern for them when accessing healthcare.

"Nurses are key to ensuring dignity through care but they do not work in a vacuum. If they do not receive appropriate support, patients will lose out. More often than not it is older people, as the biggest users of the NHS, who are most affected.

"The government has committed to making dignity in care a reality. It needs to ensure all staff understand what that means in practice and appropriate resources and guidance are in place to make it happen."

Notes

The RCN ran a membership survey between 11 February and 3 March 2008 to investigate the attitudes and experiences of members of dignity, using online software available through the RCN website. 2,047 members took part in the survey from across the UK. More information can be found at rcn/news/mediacentre.php

Right care, Right deal is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England. Visit rightcare

Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation, neglect and ageism. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The Charity delivers a range of services: information and advice, home support and community living, including international development work. These are supported by its paid-for services and fundraising activities - which aim to increase funding in the future to respond to the growing unmet needs of disadvantaged older people. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.

Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect. Visit helptheaged.

Help The Aged

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