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Yousuf RM, Fauzi ARM, How SH, Akter SFU, Shah A
Correspondence: Dr R M Yousuf, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Optimal patient care varies considerably from place to place and is influenced by scientific as well as social developments. The purpose of this study was to investigate awareness and pertinent issues regarding informed consent among hospitalised patients and to determine lapses, in order to improve the standard of care.
Methods A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among inpatients at a tertiary care level hospital.
Results 90 percent of patients were aware of their rights, and 85 percent had enough information regarding their illness and modality of treatment. However, treatment options were discussed with 45 percent of cases only, and 65 percent of patients were informed of their duration of treatment. Most of the patients from the surgical group, haemodialysis unit and those with minor ailments were very satisfied with the doctors (92 percent, 86 percent and 96 percent, respectively), as opposed to only 36 percent of cancer patients and 70 percent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients (p-value is less than 0.0001). Almost all patients (99 percent) said that their religious beliefs were respected by the staff and they had no problems in accessing them in times of need. Informed consent was obtained by the doctor in 98 percent of cases and by the nurse in two percent. 98 percent of the patients mentioned that their treatments/examinations were conducted in an atmosphere of privacy and that their personal information was kept confidential by their doctors.
Conclusion Patients were reasonably informed about their illness. Their privacy and religious beliefs were duly respected. Treatment options and the duration of treatment were not discussed with all patients. Cancer and AIDS patients were less satisfied with the attending staff. The results suggest that there is a need for periodic surveys of patient satisfaction with the quality of care.
Keywords: informed consent, patient-centred care, patient confidentiality, patients’ privacy, patients’ rights
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(5): 494-499