Media releases

July 14, 2015

After hospital recovery - a pain for some

New survey reveals that people are leaving hospital feeling confused, unprepared and unsupported

The Medibank Health Check #6 – After hospital experience – has found that nearly 1 in 5 people reported being confused, unprepared, unsure or unsupported and concerned about their recovery after leaving hospital.

The Medibank Health Check survey, which explores people’s perceptions and experiences of leaving hospital, revealed a significant gap between what people thought should happen during the hospital to home transition period, and what eventuated.

Key findings:

  • 72 per cent of people want to take responsibility for their health but lack the confidence and information to do so, with only 56 per cent saying they were comfortable managing their health after hospital;
  • 86 per cent rated having a written plan as important when leaving hospital and only 49 per cent believed they got one;
  • 87 per cent believed having their preferences taken into account around when to be discharged is important and only 57 per cent experienced it; and 
  • 94 per cent said knowing when to take prescribed medication is important but only 83 percent reported they were properly informed.

Medibank GP, Dr Ian Boyd, said the survey clearly identifies a need for more planning and coordination to achieve a more positive after hospital care experience: 

“A significant challenge for healthcare in Australia is ensuring a safe and healthy transition from hospital to ongoing recovery, to avoid complications and hospital readmission. “

Victorian GP Dr Mukesh Haikerwal noted the growing Australian and international movement supporting individuals' self care, commenting, “Patients are often overwhelmed when leaving hospital, when they are already vulnerable. If they are equipped with the support and advice needed to make a more rapid and successful recovery from their hospital experience that would be a great benefit.”

Dr Boyd continues, “Medibank is developing an after hospital program, CareTransition, in partnership with a number of major hospitals in Sydney, which we believe will give people the confidence to better manage their post-hospital health and recovery.

"This is backed up by a substantial international body of evidence that shows that patients who participate in programs focused on increasing self-management in the immediate post hospital period are significantly less likely to be readmitted to the hospital.

 “An overwhelming majority of respondents to the Medibank Health Check saw the benefits of a coordinated after hospital program, with 56 per cent welcoming the service, 28 per cent saying it would improve the recovery process and 11 per cent wishing it was available when they left hospital.  Only 5 per cent of respondents didn’t see a need for such a service,” Dr Boyd said.

Key findings of the Medibank Health Check #6 include:

People are leaving hospital feeling confused, unprepared and unsupported:

  • Nearly a fifth of responses to a question on hospital discharge experience described it as confusing, unprepared and unsure, or unsupported and concerned about the recovery process.

There is a significant gap between what people expect and what they get:

  • 86 per cent rated having a written plan as important when recovering at home after hospital and only 49 per cent believed they got one.
  • 87 per cent believed having their preferences taken into account around when to be discharged is important and only 57 per cent experienced it. 
  • 94 per cent said knowing when to take prescribed medication is important but only 83 percent reported they were told.

People want to take responsibility for their health but they lack the confidence to do so:

  • 72 per cent said they were responsible for managing their health.
  • 56 per cent said they were comfortable managing their own health.
  • 55 per cent are comfortable telling their doctors about concerns.
  • Only 38 per cent of people know what treatments are available if they have health problems.

People are calling for more support in the hospital to home transition:

  • 56 per cent said they’d welcome such a service.
  • 28 per cent believed it would improve the recovery process.

About the Medibank Health Check:

The independent survey asked 1,500 Australians their views on leaving hospital.

This Medibank Health Check is the sixth in a series of quarterly health checks focusing on issues where Australians have noticed some health or wellbeing impacts and personal action or involvement of the health services sector may be required.

The Medibank Health Check aims to inform debate around such issues and unpack what may be required to take action to address emerging health concerns.

We chose the after hospital experience for our sixth Medibank Health Check because we wanted to find out: how people would describe their or a close friend or relatives’ experience leaving hospital; what they saw as important when leaving hospital; what they experienced when leaving hospital; their opinion on an after hospital service and their opinions of managing their own health.   


Back to top