Please login to the form below

Healthcare in a lockdown

Even if patients are getting enough care during the COVID-19 pandemic, are they getting the right care?

In Spring 2020 we asked over 1,000 patients with chronic health conditions how the lockdown had impacted their healthcare. When asked whether they were able to get enough medical care for their condition during the lockdown:

  • 25.7% of patients said they didn’t need any medical care during the lockdown
  • 44.9% received the right amount of medical care during the lockdown
  • 29.7% of patients said they didn’t receive enough
  • 0.5% received too much

It’s reassuring to know that over two thirds of the patients either didn’t need medical care or received the right amount, but that still means that nearly one third of patients felt they didn’t receive enough medical care during lockdown. (See Dr Rachel David’s LinkedIn posts for detailed findings.)

“[The] NHS have forgotten us and are only concerned with COVID”

Even so, for those who received enough care, was it the right kind of care? In our recent social listening research (where we get deep insights into the patient experience through online patient discussions), a sense of neglect emerged among people, with COVID-19 is getting unwarranted attention. Feelings ranged from “[the] NHS have forgotten us and are only concerned with COVID” to “a friend of mine was denied cancer surgery… yeah let’s clap the NHS”. While one patient reported being very satisfied with the overall level of care they received from the hospital when having a procedure, they explained how the staff at the hospital were so concerned about providing enough information about COVID-19 that they felt the staff were having to minimise information about the procedure itself due to appointment time constraints. This left them not fully understanding the procedure they were about to have.

It is of course important to inform patients about, and reduce their risk of, COVID-19 transmission. But what does this mean for care if the limited timeframe that patients would have already had outside of a pandemic is reduced further to discuss COVID-19? Could some patients leave their appointment feeling like they don’t fully understand their situation?

“[I would feel] guilty, like a time waster”

Adding to this, our survey on patients with chronic health condition revealed a trend among some patients where they would feel guilty if they needed to see their doctor during the lockdown. Patients shouldn’t have to feel guilty about needing medical care. It’s already difficult enough for some patients having to cope with managing chronic illness, never mind having to worry about whether they deserve treatment. Of course, it’s impossible to strike the right balance between treating both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients with limited resources, but this is where communication is the key to solving some of the problems.

COVID-19 has made the healthcare even more challenging, so it’s more important than ever to communicate clearly and effectively, in a way that’s tailored to the intended audience. If a doctor is unable to provide a patient with enough medical care during lockdown, it is crucial that the reasons for this are communicated clearly, with support options and information available elsewhere being signposted. If a patient has a need for medical care, it is vital to communicate to them that their needs are valid, whether we’re in a pandemic or not. This might not change the overall outcome with their treatment, as resources are (understandably) currently very limited, but it could have a dramatic impact on patient understanding and engagement in their healthcare, helping them to feel empowered to seek information and help when they need it.

If you want to better understand the experiences of patients during COVID-19 and beyond, please get in touch.

22nd October 2020

Share

Tags

Company Details

Frontera Group

+44 (0) 7817 410079

Contact Website

Address:
St. John’s House
54 St. John’s Square
London
EC1V 4JL

Latest content on this profile

The other side of ... gout

Frontera Group
Frontera wins at IPA Best of Health 2016

Frontera Group
Why Don't More People Want to Change the World?
Healthcare is critical. But healthcare will never be fixed to a point where we can say that it's done. Instead, it's about looking at things in new ways, exploring new ideas for changing behaviour to improve outcomes. For everyone. So, why don't more people try to do different?
Frontera Group
Patient Truth is Out There
Patient centricity, patient focus, patients first – words that are on everyone’s lips these days. But what do they really mean? Where does the patient voice fit in? And what do we stand to gain by really listening to patients?  We spoke to patients, academics, Pharma, not-for-profit and industry professionals to find out the value of the patient voice. The power it holds to transform health outcomes, which benefits not only the healthcare system but also the pharmaceutical industry.  Download our white paper and explore:  What people mean when they talk about patient centricity The benefits of listening to patients – for patients, Pharma and the healthcare system as a whole The challenges to capturing the patient voice and how technology can help deliver it How Pharma should evolve its practices to drive patient activation
Frontera Group
Getting to theTruth
https://frontera-group.com/gettingtothetruth/Without the patient voice, how close are we to the truth? How real is the picture that we have of the patient experience of a disease? If we don’t truly understand patients’ priorities and needs, how likely are we to engage them to be more actively involved in their health; to make better decisions and, ultimately, achieve better outcomes?Listen to our panel of experts as they explore the power of the patient voice:How engaging patients is key to make them active participants in their health and help them live longer, healthier livesHow to harness patient voices to deliver better communication strategies that drive brand differentiationHow the patient voice in integral to developing mHealth tools that truly drive change in behaviourHow technology can help capture the patient voice and understand their priorities and needs 
Frontera Group
Proud Finalists
Frontera capped off a terrific year by being a finalist for consultancy of the year.
Frontera Group