New surveys confirm the stigmas attached to health conditions

July 6, 2022

According to a release from Convatec Group, new research confirms that 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. 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.

Convatec Group release