Trust in staff fosters better bowel check

Wednesday, 31 July, 2019

Trust in staff fosters better bowel check

Positive interactions with hospital staff are key to fostering patient confidence in colonoscopies, findings from a Bowel Cancer Australia survey show.

The national My Colonoscopy Experience questionnaire included responses from about 1500 adults (most aged 50 years or more) who had recently undergone a colonoscopy.

Some of the better aspects of the colonoscopy experience highlighted by respondents included:

  • clear information about what to expect at each stage;
  • provision of guidance regarding the post-procedure process; and
  • feelings of trust and confidence in staff.

Areas for improvement highlighted by respondents indicated:

  • the referral process should be more proactive and timely;
  • more choice should be made available in terms of bowel preparation; and
  • all relevant information in the colonoscopy report should be reviewed with the patient.

Nine in 10 respondents (94%) said a wait time of “less than one month” was about right, but most respondents (59%) waited more than the recommended 30 days from referral before receiving their colonoscopy.

Three in 10 (32%) respondents indicated they waited more than two months. Nearly one in 10 of those (7%) reported waiting six months or more.

Respondents receiving their colonoscopy within the public health system reported waiting on average 2.5 months (150% longer than recommended by the World Health Organization, Bowel Cancer Australia said).

Bowel preparation required for colonoscopy was cited regularly as the key area for improvement, the survey showed.

When asked what could have made the experience better, most respondents’ comments (41%) related to improving the bowel preparation experience.

Nearly all respondents (97%) felt information about how to prepare for their colonoscopy was clear. But most respondents (83%) were not offered a choice regarding the type of bowel preparation medicine given.

Two in five (41%) respondents said they would have liked more options.

Private hospital patients rated their experiences more positively than public hospital patients throughout the process, but both private and public hospital patients indicated the best part of their colonoscopy experience was positive interactions with staff (36%).

Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins said that with 1.1 million colonoscopies to be performed in Australia in 2020–21, the My Colonoscopy Experience questionnaire would remain open indefinitely.

“Every patient’s feedback about their colonoscopy experience is unique and valuable,” he said.

“Communicating the unique patient perspective is vital for understanding how to make services better and safer for patients.

“As more and more people share their experience, findings will help shape Bowel Cancer Australia’s initiatives and can be used more broadly as a valuable resource to inform policy, programs and investment in colonoscopy quality and care.”

Image credit: © Kacso

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