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Respect is the Key to Patient Safety

Posted on Dec 27, 2014

A new Consumer Reports survey indicates that respect is vital to better and safer medical care.

The details of the survey are detailed in a report called “How Not to Get Sick(er) in the Hospital.”

The survey polled 1,200 people who were hospitalized during the past 6 months and found that those who rarely felt respected by healthcare workers, were two and a half time more likely to fall victim to a medical error than those who reported to be treated well.

Of the patients polled, 29% reported experiencing a medical error, echoing the danger highlighted by a previous report that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The report defined respectful behavior as communicating effectively, showing compassion, honoring patients’ wishes and acknowledging mistakes. The report also defined medical errors as a broad term to include hospital-acquired infections, medication mistakes, misdiagnoses and other preventable adverse events.

It was alarming that one in four of the patients surveyed stated that medical staff didn’t consistently treat them “like a person.”

1/3 of those surveyed felt that their wishes weren’t always honored and that the staff was sometimes incapable of listening without interrupting.

Furthermore, 21% felt outright discriminated against.

The report also highlighted how some patients felt powerless during the process of handling their own medical care.

The survey gives a more comprehensive picture of where the healthcare system stands at the national level and gives a better sense of how much work still needs to be done.

Making respectful treatment of patients a priority will go a long way toward improving the hospital experience for patients.

Patient engagement has been an ongoing trend in the medical industry and providers are seeking out innovative ideas to help patients help themselves. Some research even indicated that more engaged patients experienced less pain.


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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer