Maintaining Standards Of Emotional Patient Care
A recent survey conducted with more than 60,000 patients being treated in NHS hospitals in England found that one in five felt they were not given enough information about their condition and treatment, and one quarter expressed feelings that they had nobody to talk to about their concerns and fears.
The report, conducted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) also discovered that thousands of hospital patients were forced to wait when they sought urgent help.
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In total, 17 per cent of patients waited more than five minutes after using the call button because they needed assistance from a nurse or doctor and one percent received no response at all.
The report also highlighted patient concerns that there were not enough nurses in hospitals, with one in 10 saying there was not enough medical staff on duty while they were being treated.
Thousands were denied help with basic tasks, with 17 percent said they did not get enough help to eat their meals, overall 19 percent said they only got enough help on some occasions.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients' Association, said, “Far too many patients, many of them elderly and vulnerable, are left absolutely terrified in hospital because when they need urgent help, the call goes unanswered, and when they need assistance with the most basic tasks, it is not there.”
She said patients ended up collapsing after attempting to get to the bathroom on their own, while others rapidly deteriorated because assistance came too late.
Murphy said that despite Government rhetoric about putting patients at the heart of decisions, the 24 percent of patients who said doctors had discussed their care in front of them as though they were not there reflected a “very paternalistic” way of delivering care.
She continued, “Patients should be involved in their care, but again and again we see this is not happening.”
A Global Phenomenon
The survey carried out by the CQC highlighted problems localized to the UK, however it is fair to say that many of the concerns of British patients can be felt in other locations around the globe.
This highlights the need for healthcare executives to take a long look at customer service and patient care. It is one thing to provide patients with the medical assistance they require, however it is also extremely important to ensure patients feel informed and supported while receiving treatment.
Customer service should be on the agenda in the healthcare boardroom – allowing standards to slip will damage patient recovery and impact upon patient care.