Aims The aim of this work was to capture the experiences of children and families during their admission to a district general hospital.
Methods This was a mixed methods study. Three different surveys were developed for use by parents and carers, children aged 11–16 years and children aged 6–10 years. To add depth and richness to the data children’s stories, pictures and poems were collected to generate data that reflected the children’s creativity and imagination. Data were collected between January 2013 and December 2013.
Results A total of 560 parent surveys were returned from the day care ward (n = 362) and the clinic (n = 198). A range of different factors were identified that could improve services. These can broadly be divided into two categories. Category1: Child and family centred factors included the following: some children aged 11–16 wanted the opportunity to speak to clinical staff without their parents present; there were not enough play facilities for children aged 11–16; not all staff were introducing themselves to the children or families; the environment could benefit from improvement. Category 2: concerns were raised about parents’ expectations about waiting times in clinic were not always being managed; on the day care ward some family’s were not kept informed of the delays for theatre or given realistic expectations for how the day will run.; and telephone follow up was not offered to all families.
The pictures and poems from children highlighted that food and play were the most important factors to them.
Conclusion Eliciting children’s feedback on service provision is vital to make improvements to the services we provide. They are the ones experiencing our service and as clinicians we need to be engaging with them using different methods to ask them what we can do to improve the care we provide.
This work highlighted many areas for small changes that have led the staff to reflect on the services and adapt to meet the needs of the children.
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