Chronic illness and public awareness levels in Wakefield

Investigating sensitive health problems 

Overcoming ignorance and providing new information can help service providers to change public attitudes. When we are talking about illness or disease the risk of misconceptions and misunderstandings rise; research is an effective way to tackle any false impressions and get your message across.

Assessing public awareness of chronic health issues

NHS Wakefield District asked Qa to undertake an awareness survey of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) amongst members of the public in Wakefield.

Specifically we were instructed to obtain robust data related specifically to Wakefield regarding the public’s awareness and understanding of COPD.

To meet this aim we set out to:

  • measure baseline awareness of COPD within the catchment area
  • discover what people understood about the condition
  • find out what communications/activity people would best respond to
  • determine what questions/misconceptions need to be answered in the future

Lifestyle choices were also explored, such as main sources of information, where people socialise on evenings and weekends, how much exercise they take, and whether they smoke.

We adopted a mixed methodology approach which involved CATI telephone surveys and face-to-face interviews.

In total, 419 surveys were completed by telephone and 218 on the street. The same survey questions were used for each method. Face-to-face research allowed us to target the locations where we had apparent gaps in our matrix as well as specific groups of individuals – most noticeably young males.

Communicating more effectively

Our final report included recommendations on ways to target areas of low awareness and raise the profile of COPD amongst at risk groups. NHS Wakefield District can now utilise this information to communicate the benefits of early detection and healthy lifestyle choices to local residents.

For more details e-mail laura.bainbridge@qaresearch.co.uk or call 01904 632039