According to a new survey published in Pediatrics, family experiences of inpatient pediatric care within children’s hospitals across the United States were significantly varied, indicating substantial room for improvement.
“Patient-centered care is a critical component of high-quality health care and is associated with positive health care outcomes, such as treatment adherence, receipt of preventive care, improved clinical outcomes, and lower health care utilization,” Sara L. Toomey, MD, MPHIL, MPH, MSc, and colleagues wrote. “Although less work has been done in pediatrics, family-centered care has also been associated with positive clinical outcomes, including reduced nonurgent emergency department visits, improved receipt of anticipatory guidance, and reduced unmet needs.”
Sara L. Toomey
To measure the nationwide performance of children’s hospitals, researchers analyzed 17,727 submissions to the Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey completed by parents of children younger than 18 years of age. Parents assessed 69 hospitals located in 32 states.
Five categories of care were assessed between December 2012 and February 2014, including communication with both the parent and child, attention to safety and comfort, hospital environment, and the overall experience during the hospital stay.
The overall satisfaction with the hospital stay was 73%, with the most varying score found in “quietness of hospital room” across all hospitals. When compared with children’s wards within hospitals, freestanding children’s hospitals (74%) and children’s hospitals within hospitals (73%) scored higher in overall satisfaction than pediatric wards within hospitals (68%).
The lowest mean score was attributed to “preventing mistakes and helping you report concerns” (55%), and the highest was regarding “keeping you informed about your child’s care in the emergency department” (84%).
“Our findings show potential targets for widespread change,” the researchers wrote. “The lowest hospital average [top] score was for the composite measure ‘Preventing mistakes and helping you report concerns,’ which has noteworthy implications for patient safety. The items within the composite — whether the hospital checked wristbands before administering medicines and whether they told parents how to report any concerns about their child’s care — are components of patient safety that parents can uniformly observe. In addition, reports on nurse and physician communication with the child were less favorable than those on communication with the parent, regardless of hospital type.” – by Katherine Bortz
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.