This section of the report compares how different groups of patients rated their experiences of being a hospital inpatient during the pandemic, using significance testing (t-tests). Differences are only highlighted where they are statistically significant.
In terms of patient demographics, across all areas of the survey, the same groups consistently reported poorer experiences of care: younger patients, women, people with dementia or Alzheimer's, mental health or neurological conditions, patients who had COVID-19 and people who were admitted via A&E.
Younger patients (under 55 years) reported more negative experiences across four of the six themes: person-centred care; meeting fundamental needs; staff and communications; overall experience. For example, younger patients were more likely to say they did not get enough support from health and social care services to help them recover and manage their condition but felt that this ‘support would have been useful’. In terms of infection control, younger patients were also more likely to feel ‘unsafe’ from the risk of catching COVID-19 while they were in hospital.
Older patients tended to be more positive across all themes, for example, the proportion saying they ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the staff treating them increased steadily across all age groups. However, there is some evidence that older patients had a less positive experience of information sharing and involvement in decisions. For example, they were more likely to say they did not receive any information about their condition or treatment while in A&E, and less likely to say they had been involved in decisions either about their care or leaving hospital.
Older patients also felt more isolated due to restrictions on visitors during the pandemic, and were more likely to say they were not able to keep in touch with family and friends. This may be partly a result of the fact that they were more likely to be reliant on phone calls to keep in touch, compared with younger patients who more frequently used mobile messaging, video calls and social media.
Women reported poorer experiences than men, particularly in relation to person-centred care, staff and communications, and discharge from hospital. This was reflected in their overall experience, with women less likely than men to say they were treated with respect and dignity or to rate their experience very highly (as nine or 10).
There was no consistent trend in results according to a patients’ ethnicity. However, in terms of staff and communications, Asian and Black patients were more likely to say they were told something by a member of staff that was different to what they were told by someone else. Black patients were also more likely to say they would have liked support keeping in touch with family and friends during their stay.
On infection prevention and control Black and Asian patients were less likely to say they felt safe from the risk of catching COVID-19 while in hospital.
In addition, Black patients and those of mixed ethnicity were less likely to report a very positive experience overall.
Patients with dementia or Alzheimer's, as well as people with mental health or a neurological condition, reported a poorer experience for five of the six themes: person-centred care; meeting fundamental needs; staff and communications; discharge from hospital; and overall experience.
In addition, patients with these conditions were also more likely to report feeling unsafe from the risk of catching COVID-19 while in hospital.
There was also some evidence that patients with a sensory impairment, including those who were deaf or blind, had a poorer experience on some aspects. Deaf patients were less likely to say they were able to understand staff wearing face masks or shields, and both deaf and blind patients were less likely to say that they were able to keep in touch with family and friends during their stay. In addition, blind patients reported a poorer experience in relation to communications generally. For example, they were less likely to say they had enough information about their condition and treatment in A&E or that they got answers they could understand. They were also less likely to say they were involved in the decisions being made about their discharge or that they knew who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after leaving hospital.
Patients who had a COVID-19 diagnosis, either before they were admitted or during their stay, reported less positive experiences. This is true across the full range of experience, but particularly in relation to their experience of the discharge process and when thinking about their care after leaving hospital.
Route of admission
Notably the majority of patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis had an emergency admission (admitted after a visit to A&E), and this group also reported consistently poorer experiences than people who had an elective or planned admission, again, particularly in relation to their discharge from hospital.
There was some difference in experience by NHS region, with patients in the East and in London generally reporting a poorer experience of their stay in hospital during the pandemic period, and those in the South West or North East and Yorkshire reporting a more positive experience.
Destination after leaving hospital
People who were discharged to a care home after their hospital stay were less positive about the information they received before leaving hospital and their involvement in discharge arrangements, than those who went home or to stay with family and friends. They were least likely to say they knew what would happen next with their care, that they were given sufficient information about new medicines or who they should contact about any concerns after leaving hospital.