Aims The research aimed to obtain feedback from young hospital inpatients in a manner appropriate for their age and ability, to help NHS Trusts identify how they could make improvements in their paediatric services.
Methods A paediatric inpatient questionnaire was designed and piloted in 2010, focusing on the aspects of care that children and young people say are most important. The self-completion questionnaire is aimed at children (and their parents) aged 0–16 years, and is offered annually to NHS Trusts in England. 15 Trusts participated in the 2012 survey, which sampled patients discharged from hospital during February 2012. Questionnaires were posted to the home addresses of 850 patients/parents at each Trust, with two reminders being mailed to non-responders.
Results The overall response rate to the survey across all participating trusts was 34% and demonstrated a high degree of child involvement and completion. Children and their parents reported room for improvement with the amount of privacy they were given in hospital, involvement in decisions and the quality of hospital food. In contrast, NHS Trusts performed well on hospital cleanliness and overnight facilities for parents. Children had a preference to stay on a ward with others of a similar age, whereas same-sex wards were less important. The survey also revealed some differences in the views of parents and children, for example children were less likely than parents to feel that the hospital ward was well suited to their age group.
Conclusion The survey highlighted where there was most room for improving paediatric inpatient experience. The research demonstrated that children are willing and able to express their views and should be consulted about their healthcare experiences. For some question areas the views of children were shown to differ to that of parents. This emphasises the importance of speaking to children directly, and discourages using parent views alone as a basis for delivering care to children and young people.