A care home in Yorkshire has been marked down by inspectors as potentially uncaring because staff address elderly residents with terms such as “love” and “darling”.

The health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the tendency of carers at Brackenley residential home in Harrogate to use the affectionate terms, which are particularly common in Yorkshire, could be construed as “demeaning and patronising”.

A CQC report acknowledged that residents described staff as “very nice” and said it had a “homely ambiance” but singled out the use of affectionate terms as one of the reasons behind the overall “requires improvement” grading.

Management expressed surprise and insisted they would not ban the practice because they believe residents – who include elderly people and adults with learning disabilities or mental health issues - prefer it.

One expert on Yorkshire dialect condemned the CQC’s decision as the latest example of a linguistic “tyranny” attempting to suppress a long-standing and distinctive way of speaking out of a misguided idea that people would be upset.

A section of the CQC report on Brackenley assessing whether the home was “caring” quoted residents praising staff but added: “However, throughout our visit we heard staff using terms such as ‘sweetie’, ‘darling’, ‘handsome’ and ‘love’ when speaking to and about people who used the service.

“Although the language was meant to be friendly it could be regarded as demeaning and patronising.”

Stephanie Kirkman Meikle, chief executive of Harrogate Skills 4 Living, which runs Brackenley, said staff at the home had been surprised the CQC had made an issue of the practice adding that people had requested certain terms and nicknames which were even written into their care plans.

"At our next inspection we won't be changing these terms of endearment and we will discuss it with the inspectors and show them that this is what our residents want,” she said.

“It wasn't something the inspectors discussed with us at the time of the inspection so it surprised us when it came out in the report.

“I think people would think they would rather have their mum or auntie, for example, in a place where they are loved.”

SOURCE: The Telegraph