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Making after-hospital care less painful

Experts — Posted 14/07/15

A new survey shows people are leaving hospital feeling confused, unprepared and unsupported. Here’s what Medibank is doing about it.

Have you ever left hospital and felt unsure about how to best manage your after-care and recovery? 

The Medibank Health Check #6 – After Hospital Experience asked 1,500 Australians about their experiences (and those of their close friends and family) of leaving hospital, and how they feel about the services and support they received. 

Unfortunately, the study revealed a gap between what people thought should happen during their hospital-to-home transition, and what actually happened. 

Here are some of the key things we found out.

People are leaving hospital feeling confused, unprepared and unsupported

• Nearly a fifth of respondents described feeling confused, unprepared and unsure, or unsupported and concerned about the recovery process after being discharged.

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

• 86% said having a written plan was important when recovering at home after hospital – but only 49% believed they got one.

• 87% said having their preferences taken into account around when to be discharged was important and only 57% experienced it.

• 94% said knowing when to take prescribed medication was important but only 83% reported they were told this information. 

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

• 72% said they were responsible for managing their health.

• 56% said they were comfortable managing their own health.

• 55% said they felt comfortable telling their doctors about concerns.

• Only 38% knew what treatments were available if they had health problems.

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

• 56%said they would welcome such a service.

• 28% believed it would improve the recovery process.

What is Medibank doing to solve this?

Medibank GP Dr Ian Boyd said the survey clearly identified a need for more planning to ensure a 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,“ he said.

“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% welcoming the service, 28% saying it would improve the recovery process and 11% wishing it was available when they left hospital. Only 5% of respondents didn’t see a need for such a service.”

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.”

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