Family satisfaction with inpatient pediatric care varies widely between hospitals

1. Satisfaction with pediatric inpatient care, as rated by patients’ families on numerous quality measures, varied significantly among hospitals in the United States.

2. Children’s hospitals had significantly higher overall satisfaction scores than pediatric wards within hospitals.

 Study Rundown: Patient and family-centered care have been shown to be associated with improved health care outcomes. While studies from adult populations demonstrate a positive correlation between patient satisfaction scores and hospital performance on various health quality measures, few studies exists on patient and family centered care in the pediatric population. This study aimed to characterize families’ experiences and satisfaction with inpatient pediatric care both nationally and at 69 individual hospitals throughout the United States. Results from the completed Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey showed that “top-box” scores (percentage of respondents selecting the most positive response option) varied widely between quality measures as well as between hospitals. Children’s hospitals (both freestanding and those within a hospital) had significantly higher family satisfaction scores on global rating measures than pediatric wards within a hospital. Limitations of this study include a low overall response rate with unequal distribution among individuals from different demographic groups (for example, young adult parents had the lowest response rate). Furthermore, the participating hospitals volunteered to be part of this study and may not accurately represent all hospitals serving children. Findings from this study have implications for identifying and addressing areas for improvement among pediatric inpatient care units.

Click to read the study, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant reading: A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness.

In-depth (survey): In this study, researchers asked parents/guardians of children who stayed for at least one night in participating hospital to complete the Child HCAHPS survey. This survey collected information on demographics and numerous patient experience measures administered at 69 hospitals in 34 states across the U.S. This survey covered patient and parent demographic information, as well as information on patient experience measures, broadly characterized into groups such as global ratings, communication with parent, attention to safety, etc. Researchers calculated top-box scores for each of the survey items across hospitals. The mean top-box score for overall rating of hospital stay among all hospitals was 73%. Mean hospital top-box scores ranged from 55% on “preventing mistakes and helping report concerns” to 84% on “keeping you informed about your child’s care in the emergency department.” The measure with the greatest difference between hospitals was “quietness of hospital room”. Analysis also showed associations between higher top-box score and various parent and patient demographics. For example, scores were generally higher for patients with higher parent age and lower parent education. Furthermore, average top-box scores were associated with hospital characteristics, including hospital type, teaching status, and patient volume. Freestanding children’s hospitals had an overall average top-box score of 74% while pediatric wards within hospitals had an average of 68% (P = .007). Teaching hospitals had an average score of 74% while non-teaching hospitals had an average score of 70% (P = .04).

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