Patients are often worried about the rising cost of living, rent increases, prescription charges, poor diet, and debt.
Over half of nurses report seeing an increase in the number of patients presenting with conditions potentially caused or exacerbated by money worries.
Research conducted by the Personalised Care Institute (PCI) and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) found that 57% of nurses believe money problems are causing or worsening some patients’ health issues.
They noted that things have worsened in the past six months.
The vast majority of nurses (89%) said they felt ill-equipped to speak with patients about their finances, “feeling it’s not their place” or being worried they might not have the answers.
The rising cost of living, rent increases, prescription charges, poor diet, and debt are just some of the things contributing towards the nation’s deteriorating health.
Dr Emma Hyde, Clinical Director for the Personalised Care Institute, warns, “Nurses and other health and care professionals are seeing first-hand how financial wellbeing impacts on health and yet the vast majority, understandably, lack confidence in having these types of conversations with their patients because they are worried about inadvertently making things worse.
The PCI is actively encouraging nursing staff to have those difficult conversations with patients.
Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Wye Valley NHS Trust and PCI ambassador explained, “As a nurse, it’s vitally important that I care for my patients holistically using a personalised care approach.
“I ask my patients: “what matters to you?” With the current cost of living crisis, very often what matters to them is being able to pay energy bills and afford food, and this has a significant negative effect on their wellbeing, both psychologically and physically.
“I often felt uncomfortable when talking about money matters as I’m certainly no expert, but this simple toolkit, comprising free courses and resources, is really helpful in enabling me to have personalised care conversations with patients regarding their money worries and point them in the right direction for help and advice.