Picture card menus are being developed at University Hospital Galway to help patients decide about the menu options open to them. Calorie counts will also be provided with meals.
Catering staff at the west’s biggest hospital are also examining how they can improve hospital food and nutrition.
These ongoing initiatives were revealed in response to Ireland’s first national patient experience survey which was conducted in May. The findings were launched earlier this week. UHG’s overall rating in the study was higher than the national average.
Overall, patients’ ratings of their experiences at the hospital were slightly above the national average. Some 85 per cent of patients said they had a “very good” or “good” experience, compared with 84 per cent nationally.
Many patients reported positive experiences about how staff in the hospital communicated with them. Some 92 per cent said that they definitely or to some extent had enough time to discuss their care and treatment with a doctor.
A total of 84 per cent of people said they always had confidence and trust in the hospital staff treating them.
Seventy-six per cent said that doctors or nurses gave their families or someone close to them all the information they needed to help care for them, while 87 per cent stated they received enough information from the hospital on how to manage their condition after discharge.
The report highlighted a number of areas in the hospital which required improvement. Some 75 per cent (365 people ) reported that they waited more than six hours in the ED, before being admitted to a ward. Of these, 24 people reported waiting 48 hours or more before they were admitted.
Issues around privacy, respect and dignity in the emergency department were also particularly problematic.
Almost 40 per cent of people said they were not, or were only to some extent, given enough privacy when being examined or treated in the ED while almost one in four said they felt they were not, or only sometimes, treated with respect and dignity in the department.
Referring to the food rating for the hospital, 33 per cent of people who had food on the ward at mealtimes rated it as either fair or poor.
Some 48 per cent said they were not given any written or printed information about what they should or should not do after leaving hospital.
Commenting on the findings of the survey Chris Kane, the general manager of UHG, said they will serve to inform quality improvement initiatives in UHG.
“We are very happy with the overall results of the National Patient Experience Survey. We are particularly encouraged to note that people were positive about the amount of time they had to discuss their care and treatment with a doctor. Patients also reported positive experiences of the discharge process in UHG. In particular, patients felt that they, their families and friends received enough information about how to manage their care at home.
“Patients also reported high levels of trust and confidence in the hospital staff treating them. We have already put improvement plans in place in UHG to address areas of improvement based on the results of the survey and will focus in particular on those issues relating to the emergency department. We would like to thank all the patients who took part in the survey and the staff who encouraged and facilitated it.”
Maurice Power, the group chief executive of the Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the hospital, stated the survey has been a “very positive experience” for the Saolta Group.
“It has focussed our attention even more on what is important. The patient must be put at the centre of all we do and we look forward as a group to the implementation of improvements in patient experience over the coming year. These results have given a clear insight into the patient’s experiences in our seven hospitals 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. We are committed to responding to and implementing the findings.”