A new national survey of patients’ experiences in hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic finds that most patients did not feel they were at risk of contracting the disease there.
Patients also said they were always able to understand staff when they were wearing masks and face masks.
However, 12% of respondents said they could not find someone on hospital staff to talk to if they had concerns or concerns about Covid-19.
More than 10,700 patients responded to the survey, which was conducted in September last year by the Health Information and Quality Authority, the HSE and the Ministry of Health.
The study was unique in that it took place during a period of unprecedented disruption and restrictions on healthcare provision due to the pandemic and cyber attack on HSE IT systems.
Areas for improvement reported by patients were the availability of emotional support, time to discuss care and treatment with the physician, information on how to manage the condition after leaving hospital, and the opportunity for families to speak to the physician.
The survey shows that long wait times in emergency departments remain an issue, with only 29% of people saying they have been admitted to a department within HSE’s target six-hour waiting period.
Patients admitted to small, specialty elective hospitals tend to report more positive experiences than patients admitted to medium and large hospitals.
Most patients, 83%, rated their overall experience of hospital care as good or very good.
Good areas of expertise included treating with dignity and respect, clear answers from a nurse, helping staff to get to the bathroom, privacy during examination or treatment, trust in hospital staff and pain management.
The study says the findings show patients have had a variety of experiences, both positive and negative, across their acute healthcare journey.
The national survey has been conducted every year since 2017 but was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
It is usually conducted in May of each year but was moved to September last year due to the cyber attack on HSE IT systems.
Launching the report today, Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly said it’s important work ensuring that the patient’s voice is central to delivering a more person-centred service.
Angela Fitzgerald, CEO of HIQA, said the survey results highlight how important it is to provide opportunities for patients and their family members to speak to healthcare staff, ask questions and share their concerns.
These are the areas HIQA will focus on this year, she said.
Paul Reed, CEO, Health, Safety and Environment, said her learning is an essential component of delivering safe and effective healthcare.
He said the majority of survey respondents said they were always treated with respect and dignity in the hospital.
Mr. Reed said HSE will use the findings to further develop and implement quality improvement initiatives for patients.
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