Hospital inpatients largely satisfied with care but less so with discharge processes

A MAJORITY of hospital inpatients (82 per cent) said they "always" have confidence and trust in doctors but only 62 per cent felt that hospital staff completely took their family or home situation into account when planning their discharge process.

These are key findings from the recently published NHS Adult Inpatient Survey 2015 involving over 83,000 participants.

In the survey, 84 per cent (up from 81 per cent in 2014) reported that they were "always" treated with respect and dignity in hospital and 71 per cent (up from 69 per cent in 2014) said that when they had important questions for doctors or nurses they "always" got answers that they could understand.

A growing majority also said that they "always" had confidence and trust in doctors (82 per cent) and nurses (79 per cent), and 60 per cent said that they were "definitely" involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment – a significant improvement on the 57 per cent in 2014.

But results around people’s experiences of post-treatment discharge planning were less encouraging, with 41 per cent of discharged patients reporting not being told about medication side-effects to watch for and only 62 per cent feeling that hospital staff completely took their family or home situation into account when planning the discharge process. Only 56 per cent of people agreed that they had received enough support from health and social care professionals to help them manage their condition after leaving hospital.

Commenting on the results, Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Picker Institute, who developed and coordinated the survey on behalf of the Care Quality Commission, said: "It is fantastic to see so many improvements in people’s experiences of hospital care. It is particularly encouraging that some of the most notable improvements are in areas that are of particular importance to patients, including communication, involvement, and respect for people as individuals. NHS staff work tirelessly and these improvements are not only testament to their commitment but a reflection of the efforts made in the last year to understand and improve on 2014 findings.

"Nevertheless, the survey highlights areas that still need improvement. An effective person-centred service is streamlined and continuous, and while strides have been made in hospital treatment, the results around discharge planning and self-management are cause for concern. For patients to have the best chance of recovery – and for providers to minimise the risk of readmissions – patients need to leave hospital with good, clear information and understanding about their ongoing care and medicines.

"Too often this is not happening, and improvement is needed to benefit patients and the NHS alike."

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