How we refer to the people we care for and support, has a direct impact on how they feel.
Referring to a person as their bed or room number is disrespectful and depersonalises services for people.
Words used to describe practice such as: ‘toileting’, ‘feeding’, ‘changing’, or to describe a person’s care and support needs, such as: ‘double ups’, ‘single’, ‘softs’, ‘padded’ and words that describe when a person is unwell, such as: ‘challenging behaviour’, ‘wandering’, ‘non-compliant’, not only disrespects a person, but can “promote institutionalised care and may cause the practice of well-intentioned staff to deteriorate, it may also allow for intentional abuse to go unreported”, (Marsland et al 2007).
Words we use changes the way people feel about themselves, effects mood, self-esteem and creates feelings of happiness or sadness. Words can also change the way other people think and feel about a person.
During my time in social care, I have seen some poor practice yet, over the last few years more good practice however; we still have some way to go.
Positive language is encouraging, enabling and empowering; it contributes to the creation of a positive, person-centred culture across care and health services. It makes people feel good about themselves, people feel valued and included.
How positive and empowering is the language across your care service?
For further information on how Care Leadership Support can work with your team to identify and weed out poor practice and to build a positive culture, contact Donna Briggs e:firstname.lastname@example.org.