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23 ‘Ask the children – they know best’ : what can we learn to improve outpatient care for the complex child?
  1. Jo Wray,
  2. Geralyn Oldham
  1. GOSH


Introduction Existing surveys to elicit patient experience such as the Friends and Family Test provide little scope for understanding what elements of health care are delivered well or less well. Having developed patient reported experience measures (PREMs) with children for children, thus ensuring relevance and a focus on the elements that matter to children themselves, we wanted to explore children’s perceptions about their experience of the healthcare they had received.

Methods Children aged 8-16 years attending an outpatient clinic (n=526) were invited to anonymously complete a paper copy of an age-appropriate PREM. Questions focused on hospital facilities, tests and treatments and people working at the hospital together with some basic demographic information.

Results Completed questionnaires were received from 211 children (40%). Responses indicated that waiting areas were too noisy (17%), too hot or cold (38%) and too crowded (25%), with insufficient things to do (39%). Children generally felt that staff listened to them (88%) but only 49% reported that they were always encouraged to ask questions. Less than two thirds of children always felt that they had a say in decisions about their care and only 87% always trusted the staff looking after them. Staff were perceived as being friendly or very friendly (95%) and 91% of respondents rated their overall hospital experience as good or very good.

Conclusions Use of a PREM developed in conjunction with children enabled them to provide feedback about their experiences of different aspects of their outpatient care which can be used to inform quality improvement initiatives, including training for staff. Elements of the physical environment and some aspects of communication were identified as areas of concern. Although overall ratings of experience were relatively high it is evident that children do not always trust those caring for them, which needs to be addressed.

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