UL Hospitals Group Working To Improve Patient Experience

University Hospital Limerick

Acute hospitals across the country will again this year participate in the National Patient Experience Survey. The 2018 survey is part of a broader programme to help improve the quality and safety of healthcare services provided to patients in Ireland.

The survey tries to understand how patients interact with the healthcare system and how they experience this process. It will help us establish what is working well in our hospitals and what needs to be improved.

All inpatients discharged from University Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, St John’s Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital during May 2018 will be invited to participate in this survey.

Prof Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said, “the results of the 2017 survey provided us with a rich source of information to help improve hospital care.  We used the results to develop quality improvement plans, which outlined how patients’ priorities are being addressed”
The 2017 survey demonstrated that many patients reported very positive experiences of care on the ward, patients were very positive about the support they received from staff and patients also reported positive experiences of emotional support.

Key findings for UL Hospitals Group in the 2017 survey were that across the UL Hospitals Group, 84% of patients rated their overall experience as good (29%) or very good (55%).

Asked whether they had trust and confidence in the staff treating them, 85% of patients replied always; 13% sometimes and 2% said they did not.

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A number of areas for improvement were identified and these included waiting times in the emergency department, communications around diagnosis and test results and the patient discharge and transfer process.

According to Miriam McCarthy, Patient Advocacy and Liaison Services Manager: “the Patient Experience Survey results have given us a clear insight into the patient’s experiences in our hospitals and have assisted us in understanding what really matters to patients. It confirms for us the importance of working in partnership with our patients, their carers, our staff and communities. Even small changes can lead to improved patient safety,  wellbeing and care experience. These findings will serve to inform quality improvement initiatives across the UL Hospitals Group.”

In response to last year’s survey findings UL Hospitals Group has developed a quality improvement plan – Listening Responding and Improving  – and to date we have implemented a number of improvements or projects, including:
·        The opening of a new Emergency Department at UHL; a number of new projects on Patient Flow implemented including one focused on patients over the age of 75 which has reduced by two hours their average wait times in ED
·        Full patient meals are now served to admitted patients in ED; a review of patient menus is underway and a new policy around mealtimes implemented on some sites
·        New name badges have been introduced across the Group as part of the #hellomynameis campaign
·        Wider promotion of the role of pastoral care team in UHL so patients of all faiths and none can speak to someone about their worries or fears
·        Additional PALS volunteers for ED at UHL; a patient befriender volunteer for Nenagh Hospital
·        New leaflets are being published for patients with information around the discharge process and around medication management on discharge;
·        Patient information- updating leaflets to ensure they comply with NALA health literacy guidelines –examples include those for patient attending eye theatre and ward in UHL; Croom Orthopaedic Hospital reviewing information packs covering everything from pre-op assessment to post-discharge; notice boards for patients and visitors being piloted in two ward area in UHL
·        New Community Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Clare working with Ennis Hospital, patients and families around discharge planning. What Matters To You Project – supporting more meaningful conversations between patients and caregivers – plans underway to roll it out further in Ennis
·        Electronic discharge has commenced in Cardiology at UHL and is being expanded

“We again encourage our patients to participate in this year’s survey – their feedback is very important to us and provides us with important information on how we can continue to improve patient care and build on positive patient experience.” Prof Cowan concluded.

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