The latest results of the national patient experience survey shows Waikato District Health Board continues to track well, with scores across key areas higher than the national average.
Every three months the survey randomly selects 6000 people nationwide who were inpatients in hospital, during a set two week period – in this case 2-15 February. The survey consists of 20 questions and asks people to rate their care experience out of 10 based on communication, partnership, coordination of the care, and having their physical and emotional needs met.
The Health Quality and Safety Commission collates and publishes the results for New Zealand as a whole, and also for each district health board.
Waikato DHB’s Quality and Patient Safety assistant group manager Mo Neville said the results for the DHB this time are largely pleasing, but they also highlight areas where the DHB still have work to do.
There was a drop in the number of surveys returned from 31 per cent to 24 per cent (96 Waikato inpatients responded from the 400 offered the survey), and the DHB will continue to send a greater number of printed survey forms out by post rather than text messaging as mail does get a higher response rate.
Over 80 per cent of Waikato respondents always felt listened to by staff. 78 per cent of respondents said they always got answers they could understand when they had important questions to ask a doctor.
In terms of meeting patients’ physical and emotional needs, 93 per cent said that overall, they were always treated with respect and dignity while they were in hospital.
“We want to say a big thank-you to everybody who has completed the survey,” Mo Neville said. “We do need to hear feedback. We do need to keep looking at how we can improve.”
Areas for improvement (which are the same for most other DHBs) are:
- Staff advising people about medication side effects – Waikato DHB’s score was 50 per cent: yes completely. (Waikato DHB’s lowest score)
- Hospital staff including the patients’ family/whanau or someone close in discussions about your care – Waikato DHB’s score was 54 per cent: yes always (second lowest score)
- Ensuring people receive enough information from the hospital on how to manage their condition after discharge – Waikato DHB’s score was 60 per cent: yes definitely.
Waikato DHB continues its planned discharge project across many of its health areas. The focus of the project is on improving the patient’s experience and ensuring patients and clients are aware of their planned discharge date, and that discharges take place earlier in the day rather than in the afternoon / early evening, which gives more time for the patient to make arrangements, link up with support and settle in back home. The survey results will be used by this project team.
A new project is also underway at Waikato Hospital which is looking at more flexible visiting for patients’ key support people. “We hope this will support greater involvement of family/whānau in discussions about care, including increased involvement at ward rounds and handovers,” Mo Neville said.