Patients experienced good care in hospital during the pandemic, but long waiting times in the ED remained a problem, according to the 2021 National Inpatient Experience Survey.
With 40 participating hospitals and 10,743 participants in 2021, it was the largest survey of its kind in Ireland.
Most patients had a good experience in hospital, with 83% rating their experience of hospital care as ‘good’ or ‘very good.’ The majority of survey participants said that they were always treated with respect and dignity, and that they were given enough privacy when being examined or treated. Patients also gave very high ratings to cleanliness, pain management and confidence and trust in hospital staff.
Nevertheless, long waiting times in the emergency department remained a problem, with only 29% of people saying that they were admitted to a ward within the HSE’s target waiting time of six hours. Over 300 people (4%) said that they waited 48 hours or more to be admitted.
Further areas needing improvement included the availability of emotional support, time to discuss care and treatment with a doctor, information on how to manage a condition after leaving hospital, and opportunities for family members to talk to a doctor.
Most patients surveyed said that they did not feel at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in hospital; however, a number of participants said that they could not find a member of staff to talk to if they had worries or fears about COVID-19, and that they did not receive help to keep in touch with family members. Many patients expressed their appreciation of staff and the care they received but missed being able to have visitors. Visiting restrictions posed particular challenges for patients with sensory, physical or cognitive impairments.