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Hand-held device uses frog game to measure child patient experience

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A new tool that uses games may help to measure paediatric patient experience in line with Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review of the NHS, a leading nurse has claimed.

The computer-based tool, which has just been launched by Alder Hey Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool, uses an animated frog to ask children questions about their stay in the hospital.

The National Paediatric Toolkit consists of survey software running on a handheld, touch-screen device. It features voice recognition and sound for children who are immobile or sight impaired.

The tool can be used to gather data from children as young as four – something previously considered almost impossible.

Nurses and staff at the trust have urged other trusts to use similar approaches to get feedback from children.

Liz McArthur, clinical nurse specialist in pain and sedation at Alder Hey, said: ‘A lot of the NHS is focused on targets. What Darzi has done is take the priority back to quality of care, which is very important to nurses. We have to ask patients what they want, we can’t go round thinking we know.

Alder Hey developed the NPT with Priority Research Limited, Panasonic and BT Health, alongside some of the hospital’s young patients.

The hospital hopes the tool can be rolled out to other children’s hospitals and health, education and social service settings.

Ms McArthur said the tool can be used to provide data on service quality to bodies such as the Care Quality Commission.

She explained: ‘What we can do with this kit is be able to provide these agencies with measurable outcomes. It was very difficult to measure before and that is what we are trying to do. Children are able to take part in this process.’

Kath Birchall, hospital Oncology Unit Manager, said: ‘For a lot of the children, it’s a game. The children are giving unique feedback because usually we talk to mums and dads.’

‘It’s another way to know whether we’re doing the right thing,’ she said.

Ms Birchall used the NPT in the oncology ward to confirm the results of a small focus group by canvassing a larger group of children.

Among the changes introduced are vending machines, after children requested a tuck shop.

‘It’s not the way to go in terms of healthy eating, but our children need to eat anything,’ she said.

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