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Call for nursing directors to get proactive on measuring patient experience

Directors of nursing in hospitals should begin measuring patient experience based on seven “core” areas of care, according to the patient charity the Picker Institute.

These seven aspects of care, which include dignity and respect as well as nursing, have the highest value to hospital patients and should be adopted in future as the priorities on which to focus efforts to improve quality, according to the institute.


The seven domains
Consistency and coordination of care
Treatment with respect and dignity
Involvement in decisions
Pain control


It compiled the list based on a statistical analysis of over 70,000 responses to the 2008 national inpatient survey. The analysis is published today in a discussion paper called “Core domains for measuring inpatient care”, which outlines the seven areas.

Announcing his NHS strategy “From Good to Great” last week, health secretary Andy Burnham said 10 per cent of payments to acute trusts should be linked in future to patient experience and satisfaction.  

Patient experience was also highlighted as a key area for improvement in the Lord Darzi’s NHS next stage reviewHigh Quality Care for All – published in June 2008.

But Picker Institute chief executive Penny Woods said there was currently no consistent understanding across the NHS in England of what the term “patient experience” meant, or how to measure it. She called for nursing directors to reorganise the inpatient survey’s questions around the seven domains suggested.

Dr Woods: “It’s time to get the focus off car parking, brightening up reception areas and changing signage, for example. What really counts for patients is their [patient] interaction with doctors and nurses, and greater involvement in decisions about care and treatment.”

She added: “Directors of nursing and quality managers can, we suggest, adopt these domains and the related survey questions now, building them into their own local measurement, with confidence that they are prioritising the right things.”

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