Young inpatients give UCLH thumbs up 

01/07/2015 00:00 
UCLH provides good inpatient services to children and young people, according to the first survey in England to get the views of teenagers and children on hospital care.

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC's) National Inpatients Survey, published today, brings together the experiences of almost 19,000 children and young people who stayed in hospital overnight or were seen as a day patient across 137 acute trusts in England.

A total of 409 young inpatients and day-case patients from UCLH were sent a questionnaire for the survey, which shows that UCLH performs significantly better than average on 6 of the 51 questions, and is within the national average on the remainder.

UCLH performed better than most trusts at ensuring there are age-appropriate things for children to do while on our wards, and staff to play with or do activities with children. UCLH improved significantly since 2012 on giving children enough privacy when receiving care and treatment, and on providing written information to parents.

Professor Peter Hindmarsh, UCLH’s divisional clinical director for paediatrics, said: “We welcome the CQC’s report and its focus on improving the care and experience that young patients get from hospitals. We have led on the development of better care for children and young people, and want to take the anxiety out of coming in to hospital for our young patients. The report indicates we’re doing well in that respect, but we can always improve. Coming in to a hospital for any reason can be a stressful experience for young people – as it can be for adults – so we do everything possible to create an environment where patients can relax and focus on getting better.”

All inpatient child or adolescent wards across our hospitals have well-equipped play or activity rooms. The Children and Young People’s Outpatients’ Department and other clinics are similarly well-equipped, providing a warm welcome to young patients.

UCLH’s Play Department has a team of qualified and experienced hospital play specialists (HPS) or activity coordinators, working in many areas across our hospitals and clinics. This group of staff:

  • leads a wide range of creative, recreational and social activities for babies, children and teenagers
  • enables children and young people to understand their hospital experiences, through age appropriate teaching and guided play
  • supports children and young people during invasive procedures by providing alternative focus activities and distraction
  • gives advice on appropriate play and approaches for sick and injured children to parents and staff
  • works closely with other members of the medical and nursing team to provide family-centred care.

Prof Hindmarsh added: “Play is a normal and enjoyable part of childhood as well as being an essential part of children’s mental, social and emotional growth and well-being. So it is as important for babies and children to be able to play when they are in hospital as it is anywhere else.

“For teenagers too, creative and recreational activities are important to help them to settle into the hospital, continue doing the things they enjoy and to be able to socialise and make new friends.”

To learn more about how UCLH welcomes young patients, go to our award-wining webpages

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