Survey Finds Widespread Concern, Support for Congressional Action on the Quality of Care for People with Chronic Conditions

Public opinion survey of chronic care issues

During 1999 and 2000, Harris Interactive conducted a national survey of 1,663 Americans over age 18 to examine public awareness of chronic care issues and support for chronic care policy initiatives, and the experiences and needs of the chronically ill, as well as those of informal caregivers.

Key Findings

  • Respondents were concerned about the quality of care received by people with chronic conditions, and a majority want Congress to find solutions to the issues involved with chronic care.
  • Two-thirds of those surveyed who do not have a chronic condition believe that they are likely to develop one, and they worry that they will become a burden to their families.
  • Those surveyed with chronic conditions reported that there are ongoing challenges in receiving care, including difficulty seeing the appropriate physician, inadequate insurance and receiving contradictory information from health professionals.
  • More than three-quarters of all respondents said they would volunteer to help a chronically ill person even though the person was not a friend or relative; if a faith-based organization coordinated the volunteer program, 93 percent said they would be more or equally likely to volunteer.
  • Those surveyed with chronic conditions said they are reluctant to ask for help; only 31 percent of them would ask for help from outside their family.
  • When the caregivers needed help, the largest percentage of them (41 percent) cited local religious and community organizations as sources of assistance, while 25 percent indicated relatives.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $225,034.