Caption: Helen Hanrahan, Assistant Director of Nursing; Olive Gallagher, Assistant Director of Nursing; Jean Kelly, Group Director of Nursing; Ger Kilkelly,Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS), Dr Tom Walsh, Associate Clinical Director, Medicine; James Geoghegan, Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS).

The National Patient Survey Report 2017 found a “significant” number of patients at Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) “felt they were treated with respect and dignity in the Emergency Department” in relation to admission.

The National Patient Experience Survey is a partnership between the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health, with patient representatives providing their input at each stage of the programme.

The Survey aims to understand how patients interact with the healthcare system and how they experience this process.

It helps establish what is working well in hospitals and what needs to be improved.

In the 2017 National Patient Experience Survey, LHU patients also reported having enough privacy on the ward. This was found to be an area of good experience.

In addition, patients reported good experiences of receiving clear explanations of their medicines, as well as enough information on how to manage their condition after discharge.

Key findings for LUH in the 2017 Survey were that across the hospital, 83 percent of patients said that, overall, they felt they were treated with respect and dignity.

However, a number of areas for improvement were also identified in the National Patient Survey Report 2017.

These included waiting times in the emergency department; communications around diagnosis and test results; and the patient discharge and transfer process.

In response to these findings, LUH has developed a quality improvement plan: Listening Responding and Improving and has implemented a number of improvements or projects.

These include: An Improvement Programme in the Emergency Department, which will continue to work to increase self-awareness among staff and to engage in continuous improvement in the department, to provide an improved experience for the patients, families, and the care teams.

Training for staff in communications skills will be delivered; comfort packs are available for patients in ED, these packs include tooth brushes, socks, t-shirts; and there is an on-going focus on reducing the number of patients on trolleys in the Emergency Department, in line with the HSE target times.

Information for patients about the support services available to them during their hospital stay will be enhanced and a campaign of awareness raising amongst patients about sharing concerns and speaking to staff about anything that they are worried about will be promoted.

A hospital patient information booklet is available, and this is available in many languages. LUH will be delivering plain English workshops for staff to support them to further develop patient information.

The hospital is also currently being undertaking a project on improving Discharge Planning.

Seán Murphy, General Manager, Letterkenny University Hospital said: “The Patient Experience Survey 2017 results have given us a clear insight into the patient’s experiences in our hospital and assists us in understanding what matters to patients.

“It confirms for us the importance of working in partnership with our patients, their carers, our staff and communities. I would like to thank all the patients who took part in the survey and the staff who encouraged and facilitated it.

“I would again encourage our patients to participate in this year’s survey. Your feedback is very important to us and provides us with important information on how we can continue to improve patient care and build on positive patient experience,” added Mr Murphy.

For further information on the National Patient Experience Survey visit www.patientexperience.ie or follow @NPESurvey @HSELive #patientexperience #listeningrespondingimproving.

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