Over half the population think the elderly aren't treated with enough dignity and respect in hospitals and nursing homes, according to a survey.
The shock statistics have prompted the watchdog Nursing and Midwifery Council to issue new guidance to support nurses, the elderly and their families in gaining the appropriate care.
Guidance for nurses
The guidance for nurses is supported by key organisations including the Department of Health, Help the Aged, the Patients Association, For Dementia and Action on Elder Abuse.
It reflects the views of older people and carers across the UK that the elderly's needs 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.
Reporting poor care
Research commissioned by the NMC shows that less than half the population (46%) currently thinks that older people are treated with enough dignity and respect when being cared for in hospitals and nursing homes.
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.
Advice leaflet for families
In addition to guidance for nurses, the NMC has also 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.