Hospital patients lack support

New research released on Monday has found that many hospital patients struggle to navigate the hospital system, with some 28 per cent saying that it is even more confusing than buying a home.

The research, based on surveys of more than 1000 Australians who have been to hospital in the past 12 months, found that nearly half (45 per cent) of patients felt there was not enough support provided to those going to hospital.

The lack of support contributed to unwanted stress (81 per cent), confusion (54 per cent), feelings of isolation (10 per cent) and even contributed to compromised mental and physical health for some (58 per cent).

The research, commissioned by private health insurer Medibank Private, also found that half of patients admitted to spending upwards of three hours seeking help and advice about their upcoming admission, with one in four spending five or more hours trying to source the required information.

Interestingly, while 26 per cent of patients said they wished they had someone to talk to out-of-hours in the lead up to their hospital visit, many didn’t want to bother their doctor or specialist with ‘silly questions’ (31 per cent) – with 39 per cent turning to ‘Dr Google’ instead.

Looking at the factors concerning patients, 19 per cent were unsure about how to prepare for their treatment or procedure, while others were confused about the recovery period, such as how to manage pain relief or medicine (21 per cent), foods to include or exclude from their diet (21 per cent) and how to prepare their home for discharge (19 per cent).

Medibank chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan said: “We know from our research that patients are calling for more support in the lead up to and following hospital admissions.

“It’s clear that there are a number of unknowns when it comes to a hospital admission – from the process and logistics surrounding a hospital stay, to the management of your health following discharge – with many patients turning to the internet for answers.”

Have you been to hospital recently? How would you rate the level of support you received? How did you find the process? Was it confusing and stressful? What could be done to make things better?

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Written by Ben


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