South Tipperary General Hospital patients took part in the first ever National Patient Experience Survey - the results of which were released today (Monday, December 11).
Patients attending the Clonmel hospital were a little less happy with their overall experience than patients nationally - while 54% of the all-Ireland results was a score of 9/ 10 (the experience was very good) only 46% of patients at STGH gave their overall experience a very good rating.
Areas highlighted for improvement include the discharge process - including giving enough notice to the patient and their family of discharge; and explaining the purpose of medicines they were given to take home with them. Also highlighted was that more than half (52%) of patients said they were not able or only to some extent able to find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about their worries and fears.
Waiting times for admission must also be improved.
Areas where STGH scored well were patients being offered a replacement meal if they could not eat at mealtimes (80%); information about a procedure before (86%) or after (71%) it took place in a manner they could understand; and 81% said that hospital staff did everything they could to help control pain.
STGH had a slightly higher proportion of patients taking part - 52% of those eligible compared with 51% nationally.
The average age of participants in STGH was 64 years, evenly divided between male and female patients. 81% entered the hospital on an emergency basis. According to the national results patients who entered hospital on a planned basis were happier with their overall experience than those who were emergency admissions.
There were 168 inpatient beds available in the hospital during the survey period of 1 – 31 May 2017 and 575 eligible discharges were recorded during this time.
The full results from South Tipperary General Hospital can be seen in the infographic below. The full report can be read on www.patientexperience.ie which is also where the hospital's point-by-point response (Listening, Responding & Improving) to the survey can be read.
For the ‘admission to hospital’ stage, 79% of patients had a very good or good experience. 96% of respondents said they were always or sometimes treated with respect and dignity in the emergency department. However, long waiting times in the emergency department were highlighted as a problem. Only 30% of people said that they were admitted to a ward within the target waiting time of six hours.
85% of patients had a very good or good experience of ‘care on the ward’. Patients were generally positive about the cleanliness and privacy on the ward. However, a large number of people said that they did not have a positive experience of communication while on the ward. Many patients said that they did not have enough time to talk with doctors about their care and treatment. Patients also had difficulty in accessing emotional support, with 48% saying they could not always find any member of hospital staff to talk to about their worries and fears.
The ‘discharge or transfer’ stage of care was the lowest-rated stage, with only 60% saying they had a very good or good experience. Patients did not always receive enough information on how to care for themselves at home, and this was a source of concern for many patients.
The first National Patient Experience Survey took place in May 2017. 26,635 patients from 40 hospitals across Ireland were invited to participate. With a response rate of 51%, that’s 13,706 participants, it is the largest survey on patients’ care in Ireland.
The survey is a partnership between the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health. The survey was developed with the involvement of Patient Focus, a patient advocacy organisation, in order to ensure that patients were central to the design and execution of the survey.
The survey consisted of 61 questions about admission to hospital, care on the ward, examinations, diagnosis and treatment, discharge and transfer, and other aspects of care.