A recent study suggests that respectful treatment by healthcare providers
is directly correlated with patient safety. It found that when doctors
and nurses view you as person, not just the stroke, appendectomy or pregnancy
complication in Room 7, medical errors are less likely to occur.
Consumer Reports surveyed 1,200 people who were hospitalized in the last
six months and found that those who rarely felt respected by their healthcare
providers were two and a half times more likely to suffer a medical error
than those who reported they were treated well.
Consumer Reports survey defined respectful care as communicating effectively, acting with compassion,
honoring patients’ wishes, and acknowledging mistakes. The term
“medical errors” included hospital-acquired infections, misdiagnoses,
medication mistakes, and other preventable adverse events. Nearly 30 percent
of the patients reported that an error occurred.
Approximately one in four patients surveyed said that medical staff did
not consistently treat them “like a person” or capable of
participating in their own healthcare decisions. One-third of those surveyed
reported that their healthcare team failed to listen to them without interrupting,
and 34 percent felt that their wishes about treatment were not always
honored. Even more alarming, 21 percent of patients felt that they were
not always treated fairly and without discrimination.
As San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, the results are concerning, but
not surprising. Prior research has found that hospitals that emphasize
mutual respect between caregivers and patients provide higher quality
care. As noted by Harvard Medical School researchers, “Creating
a culture of respect in health care is part of the larger challenge of
creating a culture of safety.”
To help improve your hospital experience and avoid medical errors, patients
are encouraged to take an active role in their care, which can include
asking questions, taking notes, being assertive yet polite, and appointing
a loved one to serve as your advocate.