Experience of Polish Patients with Obesity in Contacts with Medical Professionals

Krzysztof Sobczak, Katarzyna Leoniuk, Agata Rudnik
Patient Preference and Adherence 2020, 14: 1683-1688

Purpose: Discrimination and stigmatization of patients with obesity are a commonly occurring social problem. The purpose of our research was to analyze the scale of the experience including medical staff's improper behaviours towards patients with obesity in Poland.

Patients and Methods: In a completed national study, we studied the statements of 621 adult patients who suffer from obesity. An original closed question survey was used as a tool to collect the data. Patients were informed about the possibility to participate in the study through social media, medical institutions and patient foundations.

Results: As many as 82.6% have experienced improper behaviours. Usually, it came from doctors (90%), nurses and midwives (51%), people who operated medical equipment (24%), nutritionists (14%) and paramedics (9%). Exactly 81% of the respondents pointed to unpleasant and judgmental comments as the most frequent form of improper behaviour which they have encountered mainly during diagnostic tests, palpation or procedures.

Conclusion: There is an urgent need for developing national strategies connected with care for individuals with higher body weight. Introducing dedicated solutions in this field may contribute to increasing the quality of health care and reducing stigmatizing behaviours.

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