New Jersey Hospital Association’s Consumer Awareness Campaign “Get Care Now NJ” Uncovers Health Risks in 50+ Population by Postponing Care.
Results from a new survey found that, despite a steep decline in COVID-19 patients and rigorous health and safety measures in place, a majority of New Jersey’s older adults are still concerned about entering hospitals for non-coronavirus-related treatments. As a result, they may be putting their health at risk by delaying care.
During the pandemic, New Jersey hospitals continued to care for nearly 350,000 non-COVID-19 cases, including life-saving surgeries, births, trauma services and emergency care. As of September 2020, COVID-19 admissions represented less than 5 percent of total patients in the state’s medical facilities, which is dramatically lower than at its height in April 2020, when 20 percent of admissions were COVID-19 cases.
The New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) activated the Health Attitudes survey as part of “Get Care Now NJ,” a comprehensive new consumer awareness campaign. Accessible via GetCareNowNJ.com, the initiative encourages New Jerseyans to make their healthcare a priority and educates them that hospitals are safe and secure. Get Care Now NJ’s layered marketing approach combines digital, social media and media relations outreach to amplify its message.
The survey was conducted from Sept. 8 to 18, 2020, by Bruno and Ridgway Research Associates on behalf of the NJHA. It determined:
- An overwhelming 83 percent of New Jersey adults are either “extremely concerned” (23%), “very concerned” (27%), or “somewhat concerned” (34%) about the risk of coronavirus if they need to visit a hospital for services unrelated to COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
- 17 percent say they are “not very concerned” or “not at all concerned” about contracting coronavirus in hospitals.
- This data is supported by the 24 percent decline in inpatient elective surgeries in June and July 2020 versus 2019.
- Results indicate that, within the 50-plus group, age is a factor in the degree of concern respondents have toward entering hospitals again: those 65 and older are less concerned than those in the 50-64 age group, by a margin of 43 percent to 54 percent.
- Since the pandemic began, only 10 percent of survey respondents have received care in a hospital Emergency Room.
- Two-thirds (66%) of those surveyed say they found comfort in hospitals allowing each patient to have one friend or family member visit during their hospital stay. During the pandemic’s height, visitors were not permitted, often causing added stress and anxiety for older populations.
- Despite being hesitant to return to hospitals, New Jersey residents feel highly confident in the safety measures that hospitals are taking to keep their patients safe. Top-rated measures include:
- Testing of Employees-83 percent
- Universal Masking-80 percent
- Separating staff to work with either COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 patients, but not both-79 percent
“These findings confirm our concerns: that our state’s older residents have been delaying surgical procedures and potentially putting their health at risk,” noted Cathy Bennett, NJHA President and CEO. “New Jersey’s hospitals are ranked the eighth safest in the nation* and we’re committed to educating our residents through Get Care Now NJ that our hospitals are safe and secure, with compassionate care delivered by our healthcare teams,” she added.
The Health Attitudes survey was conducted online among a cross-section of 402 adults aged 50 and over throughout New Jersey. The survey’s margin of error is ±4.6 percentage points for 402 adults at the 95% confidence level. Quotas were established to ensure a roughly 40% male/60% female ratio.
NJHA, based in Princeton, is the leading not-for-profit trade association committed to delivering support and services to close to 400 of the state’s hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare providers. Its affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, also a nonprofit, engages in programming and partnerships to improve healthcare quality and access to the people of the Garden State.
*2019, Leapfrog Group, Hospital Safety Grade