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New National Surveys of Care Experience Being Developed in Ireland

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In 2021, the National Care Experience Programme will run the fourth National Inpatient Experience Survey, and will also develop methodology for future surveys on maternity bereavement, end-of-life care and the experience of older people in nursing homes in Ireland.

A joint initiative by HIQA, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health, the programme seeks to improve the quality of health and social care services in Ireland by asking people about their experiences of care and acting on their feedback.

The fourth National Inpatient Experience Survey will take place in May 2021. People aged 16 and over who spend 24 hours or more in a public hospital and are discharged during the month of May will be invited to participate in the survey.

This year’s survey will ask patients about admission to hospital, the ward environment, care and treatment, discharge from hospital, as well as additional questions about their experiences in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic — such as staff communication while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and contact with family and friends given visitor restrictions.

They are also developing a National Maternity Bereavement Experience Survey to learn about parents’ and families’ care experience following a pregnancy or perinatal loss. During the development of the National Maternity Experience Survey, they identified that a dedicated survey was required to explore the experiences of bereaved parents, to capture meaningful information on their experiences of care in a sensitive and appropriate manner. This survey will provide assurance on the care being provided and identify areas for improvement in maternity hospitals and units in Ireland. It aims to drive accountability across the healthcare system and provide policy developers with definitive data to inform policy development and implementation. The survey findings will also help to inform the existing national standards for bereavement care and regulation programmes for maternity care services. The survey’s Programme Board will meet this month to agree on the methodology, delivery and implementation of the survey.

The programme is also developing two new surveys on end-of-life care and older people’s experiences in nursing homes. Work is progressing on the development of a survey on end-of-life care which will include people who were cared for and died in a number of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and in their own homes. Surveying bereaved relatives is recommended as a means of evaluating the experience of care delivered as outlined in the HSE National Clinical Care Programme for Palliative Care, Model of Care (2019). A Programme Board met in January to discuss the scope, sample population, model and methodology of the survey.

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