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Children with SEN and disabilities have a poorer experience of hospital care than their peers, according to a new report by Care Quality Commission.

In its first children and young person’s survey, the Commission found that the vast majority of children and young people said they were happy with the care received, thought staff did everything possible to control their pain and understood the information given to them by staff.

However, children with SEN, disabilities or mental health needs reported being less happy with their care experiences.

Almost 19,000 children and young people who stayed in hospital overnight or were seen as a day patient took part in the survey.

Nationally, the results from the 137 acute NHS trusts show that nearly 90 per cent of all eight- to fifteen-year-olds said that they felt safe on the ward at all times. Roughly 80 per cent of children and young people said that staff did everything they could to help control their pain, while almost three quarters of those who have had surgery or a procedure received explanations about what had happened in a way that was easy for them to understand.

Responses were less positive across all areas that involved children with mental health conditions, learning or physical disabilities. Only 45 per cent of parents and carers of children with physical disabilities and 49 per cent of parents and carers of children with mental health conditions or learning disabilities thought staff were aware of their child’s medical history before caring for them or treating them, compared with 59 per cent for parents or carers of children without these conditions. Less than half of parents and carers of children with a physical disability, mental health needs or a learning disability felt that staff definitely knew how to care for their child’s individual needs. This compares to 72 per cent of parents and carers of children without these conditions.

Almost two-thirds of parents and carers of children with a physical disability, and 68 per cent of those with children with mental health needs or a learning disability, said the ward had appropriate equipment or adaptations suitable for their child, compared with 81 per cent of those whose children did not have these needs.

The report can be found on the Commission's website:
www.cqc.org.uk

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