Objectives & Background Adolescents' opinions regarding health care is under-represented. The Royal Hospital for Sick Children Edinburgh is due to relocate to a new site in 2017 when it will also increase its age limit to <16 years (currently <13 yrs). This study investigates adolescents' opinions on the Emergency Department (ED) and determines what is important to them to ensure that we get it right.
Methods An extensive literature search was performed which identified four key topics which formed the design of the questionnaire. Inclusion criteria were individuals aged between 12–16 years, presenting to the Royal Infirmary ED where adolescents are currently seen. The questionnaire was distributed to the ED for a month. Qualitative interviews were also conducted throughout the month using a template based on the questionnaire.
Results In total, 140 responses were received. The most important factor in an ED, according to adolescents was cleanliness (average importance rating of 4.69). The least important factor was entertainment which was given an importance rating of 2.46. However, when prompted to select one factor, being treated quickly was the most important (figure 1). Only 21% of respondents knew of the proposed move of the ED department, and overall this was deemed a positive idea (78%).
Four main areas were considered when evaluating the results of our study. As age increased, the proportion of individuals preferring to be treated with adults increased. However, greater satisfaction was achieved when treated in child or adolescent-specific wards which suggests the use of age specific areas. Privacy was a concern expressed by adolescents potentially giving scope for improvement. The majority of respondents felt safe within an ED setting, however a small proportion did not. Our study suggested the feeling of safety is created by healthcare workers and familiarity with staff and the environment. Waiting times were consistently deemed important and reduced this would increase patient satisfaction.
Conclusion Literature specifically focusing on adolescents in this topic is limited. Our study attempts to fill in some of these gaps. Being seen quickly, cleanliness and clear explanations of treatments and procedures are the most important factors throughout the sample. The implications derived from our results suggest that the new ED adopt some changes including improving safety and waiting times to ensure we achieve high patient satisfaction⇓.
- emergency departments
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