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Overall experience

In 2018–19, 10,020 adult Victorian patients completed a survey about how they experienced emergency department care.

The survey asks patients to rate their overall experience of using an emergency department.

A patient’s experience is considered positive if they rate their care as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’ when they are asked:

‘Overall, how would you rate the care you received while in the emergency department?’

 

During 2018–19, a majority of patients (84%) said they had positive overall experiences of care in an emergency department. This is similar to 2017–18 (83%).

The hospitals included in this report range in size, complexity and the emergency services they provide. To compare performance, we have grouped similar hospitals together.

During 2018–19, the results within different hospital groups varied across the state:

  • For specialist hospitals, results ranged from 93% at The Royal Women’s Hospital to 89% at The Royal Children’s Hospital.
  • For large tertiary hospitals, results ranged from 90% at The Alfred Hospital to 75% at Monash Clayton.
  • For major hospitals, results ranged from 88% at Footscray Hospital to 75% at Dandenong Hospital.
  • For other metropolitan hospitals, results ranged from 94% at Sandringham Hospital to 70% at Werribee Mercy.
  • For regional hospitals, results ranged from 89% at Wodonga Hospital to 78% at Albury Hospital.
  • For sub-regional hospitals, results ranged from 95% at Echuca Hospital to 69% at Mildura Hospital.

Table 4 summarises these results.

Table 4: Percentage of adult emergency department patients whose overall experiences of care in public hospitals were positive in 2018–19

Public hospitals

% positive rating

Change from last year

Victoria (statewide average) 84 +1

Specialist

Royal Women’s 93 +6
Mercy Women 90 0
Eye and Ear 89 +1
Royal Children’s 89 0

Tertiary

The Alfred 90 -2
Austin 85 -3
Royal Melbourne 84 -6
St Vincent’s 81 +1
Monash - Clayton 75 +5

Major

Footscray 88 -1
University Hospital Geelong 87 +4
Frankston 87 +6
Box Hill 86 +1
Maroondah 79 -3
The Northern 76 +1
Sunshine 76 -1
Dandenong 75 -3

Other metro

Sandringham 94 +3
Rosebud 93 +4
Williamstown 91 0
Angliss 77 -15
Casey 77 +5
Werribee Mercy 70 +1

Regional

Wodonga 89 +7
Latrobe 88 +7
Shepparton 85 +14
Ballarat 83 -1
Bendigo 81 +1
Albury 78 -1

Sub-regional

Echuca 95 0
Warragul 90 +1
Sale 90 +4
Wangaratta 89 +4
Hamilton 89 +1
Wimmera 88 -1
Warrnambool 87 -2
Wonthaggi 86 0
Bairnsdale 85 -2
Swan Hill 73 -15
Mildura 69 -6

Notes: Number of survey responses for 2018–19: 10,020; response rate 20%. Number of survey responses for 2017–18: 11,118; response rate 21%.

Respondents include patients aged 16 and over who attended an emergency department and were not subsequently admitted as an inpatient.

Source: Victorian Agency for Health Information analysis of the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey dataset, 2017–18 and 2018–19. Data supplied by Ipsos Social Research Institute. Data extracted 8 October 2019.

Overall experience of groups of Victorians in 2018–19:

  • Patients who spoke a language other than English at home had equally positive experiences of care compared with other Victorians.
  • Fewer Aboriginal Victorians (71%) said they had positive overall experiences of care compared with non-Aboriginal Victorians (84%).
  • Fewer women said they had positive overall experiences of care (81%) than men (86%) and people who identified as another gender (87%).
  • More Victorians aged 50 and over had positive overall experiences of care (89%) than Victorians under 50 years of age (80%).

Note: These results are statistically significant.

Factors that influence patients’ overall emergency department experience

Our analysis of the data shows the things that influence patients’ overall experience of emergency department services are: 

  • feeling listened to and understood by people working in the emergency department
  • having confidence and trust in the doctors
  • getting enough information about your condition and treatment 
  • having compassionate doctors
  • having confidence and trust in the nurses

Tables 2 and 3 summarise these results.

Table 2: Percentage of adult emergency department patients who had a positive overall experience in 2017–18 and 2018–19

Overall rating of care Percentage (%) positive rating Change
2018–19 2017–18
Rating the overall care you received from the ambulance service as good or very good 97 97 0


Table 3: What influenced patients’ overall care experience in 2018–19

Key aspects of care Percentage (%) positive rating Change
2018–19 2017–18
Feeling that you were always listened to and understood by the people looking after you in the emergency department 73 74 -1
Always having confidence and trust in the doctors treating you 75 75 0
Receiving completely sufficient information about your condition and treatment while you were in the emergency department 58 58 0
Always being treated compassionately by the doctors 79 80 -1
Always having confidence and trust in the nurses treating you 76 76 0

Notes: Number of survey responses for 2018–19: 10,020; response rate 20%. Number of survey responses for 2017–18: 11,118; response rate 21%.

Respondents include patients aged 16 and over who attended an emergency department and were not subsequently admitted as an inpatient.

Source: Victorian Agency for Health Information analysis of the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey dataset, 2017–18 and 2018–19. Data supplied by Ipsos Social Research Institute. Data extracted 8 October 2019.

Improvement story

Improving communication between patients and emergency department staff

Wimmera Health Care Group Hospital sees 16,000 patients from Horsham and surrounding areas each year in its emergency department. The staff are committed to improving patients’ experiences of care in their community. The hospital’s leadership team supports this by encouraging new ways of doing things.

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) gives the Wimmera Health Care Group team members information about what matters to patients while in the emergency department. The hospital team knows from reviewing the VHES results that communication with patients and their families is an area that can be improved.

Talking about what matters to patients

Wimmera Health Care Group team members have been some of the first in Victoria to take part in a new program to improve communication between patients and hospital team members. This program is a partnership between Safer Care Victoria and Deakin University. The training encourages clinical and non-clinical team members to ask better questions and make sure patients have more of a say in their own treatment. It changes the focus from ‘what is the matter with them’ to ‘what matters to them’.

Delilah Brennan, Emergency Department Associate Nurse Unit Manager, said the training has made a difference. Since the training, she now gives patients an introduction to her role in their care, an opportunity for patients to express their concerns, followed by an explanation for the delay and the next steps in their care. This small change has helped her better connect with the patients she is caring for – patients appreciate knowing why they have had to wait and that their concerns have been heard.

Improving patient care delivery in the emergency department is a priority to our team. We are passionate clinicians and members of our community too. We welcome feedback and we wish to work together to create an environment that makes patients, carers and their families feel safe, cared-for and empowered.

– Odette Richards, Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager

Giving patients more information to improve their experience

Wimmera Health Care Group encourages team members to suggest ideas that will lead to better experiences for patients and their families. To improve communication with patients and families, team members suggested they install a busy gauge. The busy gauge screen gives patients an idea of how soon they might be seen by a nurse or doctor in the emergency department. It displays the possible wait time, and number of patients who are waiting. Showing this information to patients lets them decide if they want to wait, or if they could have their care needs met in a different way, such as by seeing a GP.

The emergency department busy gauge screen in the waiting room is fantastic. The patients know what to expect and how long they have to wait.

– Jarrod Hunter, Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner Candidate

 

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Page last updated: 12 Mar 2020

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