New patient experience measure could give older people a greater say in their care

UntitledA new Patient-Reported Experience Measure (PREM) published as a research paper in Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society, has allowed healthcare professionals to explore patients’ experience of intermediate care in ways which previously weren’t possible.

Recording data on patient care in these very vulnerable patient groups has historically been difficult, but researchers from the University of Leeds have successfully piloted a new questionnaire, making it possible to take these patients’ perspective into account.

Conducted as part of the National Audit of Intermediate Care, led by the NHS Benchmarking Network,  the survey covered 6,459 patient responses from 131 bed-based and 143 home-based or re-ablement services, providing crucial feedback from a patient perspective on the services they’ve received.

Intermediate care services operate between health and social care and are an essential component of integrated care for older people. They aim to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and early admission to residential care, support timely discharge from hospital, and promote faster recovery from illness.

Commenting on the findings of the PREM survey, Dr Elizabeth A Teale of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, corresponding author on the Age & Ageing paper, said: ”A better understanding of user-experience in intermediate care settings allows us an opportunity to reflect on how we deliver care, and how that care is perceived. The IC-PREM offers a way not only for us to quantify experience of care, but to monitor change in experience  within services over time with subsequent rounds of the National Audit of Intermediate Care. This is potentially a powerful tool in the development of patient-centred services.”

Speaking on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society, Dr Adam Gordon said, “Putting the patient experience at the centre of how we design and deliver services is very important. Yet we have often struggled to gather data on the experiences of the most frail and vulnerable patients because of communication difficulties, memory problems and physical frailty.  This work by researchers at the University of Leeds moves us a step closer to ensuring that our services are informed by the thoughts and opinions of those that they are designed to care for.”

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