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New Survey Finds 87% of Patients with Long-Term Health Conditions Face Stigma; Nurses Feel They Lack Time and Resources to Provide Adequate Support

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According to new research, patients with long-term health conditions face stigma, among a variety of other emotional challenges associated with their health condition. At the same time, survey results indicate that their care teams, particularly nurses, feel unable to provide adequate support due to lack of time and resources. The survey, which was conducted by Wakefield Research and supported by Convatec, included responses from 200 patients or their caregivers and 200 nurses in the U.S.

Challenges facing patients
The survey found that 87% of patients or their caregivers feel some level of stigma associated with their or the person in their care’s current health condition. Nearly half (44%) reported feeling embarrassed to talk about their current health condition, while 43% felt their health condition isn’t something that’s regularly talked about and is rarely represented in the media.

Almost all (99%) patients and their caregivers say that stigma can negatively impact or slow perceived healing of a patient with a current health condition – and 96% of nurses agree that a patient’s physical healing can be impacted by stigma.

“We already know that the impact of stigma on our patients cannot be understated,” said Karim Bitar, CEO, Convatec. “These survey results demonstrate why emotional and mental health is a societal health priority today. We need to do more, as an industry, to help prevent stigma among these patients – by showcasing stories and experiences of how our patients live confidently, by providing peer-to-peer support, and by making conversations easier between friends, family and care teams.”

While emotional support comes in many forms, a patient’s medical team plays an important role, with more than half (56%) of patients reporting that they would like more time with their medical team to feel better supported. Almost all (96%) patients and caregivers would like more information about their health condition – with 53% reporting that they would prefer that information come through conversations with their medical team.

Challenges facing nurses: The care gap
As patients ache for support and in the wake of the pandemic when healthcare professionals feel more overwhelmed and strained than ever, the survey found that more than 2 in 3 nurses (68%) feel they are unable to fully support their patients – and almost all (96%) agree that they need more time, resources and education to fully care for them. According to the survey:

  • 71% of nurses need more time to spend with their patients
  • 56% feel they need more time to be able to devote to learning and education
  • 51% feel they are currently lacking the resources they need to share directly with patients to care for them most effectively

Additionally, while most nurses (82%) feel completely or mostly comfortable speaking with their patients about challenges related to their current health conditions, 60% say they are less than completely comfortable. Of those who are less than completely comfortable, 47% say it’s because they lack the quality time to do so.

‘Forever caring’: A commitment to close the care gap
Convatec, a global medical solutions and technologies company, today announced a new promise and identity, ‘forever caring,’ which reflects the company’s ongoing transformation to become a more care-centric, agile, and accountable organization.

“We’re listening – and most importantly, we’re learning,” Karim Bitar added. “In what has historically been a very product-focused industry, ‘forever caring’ is a commitment to the people we serve – and these very patients, caregivers and nurses who participated in this survey. As we continue to bring to life our vision of pioneering trusted medical solutions to improve the lives we touch, we know that the needs of our patients and healthcare providers continue to change, and we must change with them.”

As part of this new promise, Convatec commits to strengthening support for patients who are facing challenging issues associated with their health condition by expanding support programs such as me+, which provides educational and guided recovery tools, tips, and peer-to-peer-support to those living with long-term health conditions.

Convatec is also dedicated to working hand-in-glove with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals to help prevent stigma. Convatec recently launched its first “Healthy Bonds” campaign, which celebrates, supports and empowers people in the ostomy community, who often face stigma, by sharing stories of how they are embracing life with an ostomy.

At the same time, Convatec is steadfast in its commitment to lifting the burden from healthcare providers by providing educational resources and added assistance through programs like Convatec Academy of Professional Education, which is dedicated to supporting the ongoing education and training of healthcare professionals. The program has already engaged with more than 300,000 healthcare professionals globally in the past year.

Convatec also realizes that the time of nurses and healthcare professionals is valuable. To lift the burden off healthcare providers, Convatec launched a new nurse solutions app which makes it easier for them to select and recommend the best ostomy products for their patients, while also providing patients with a convenient one-stop-shop to fulfill their prescriptions, find advice and schedule a consultation with a nurse.

Since 1964, Convatec has long supported patients with needs for the management of long-term health conditions, with leading market positions in advanced wound care, ostomy and infusion care. ‘Forever caring’ represents a new and exciting stage of Convatec’s history, as well as a promise to help give patients and healthcare providers the support they need.

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