Aims To assess the experiences of adolescent patients in an inpatient setting at a tertiary hospital.
Methods From October 2018 to March 2019, patients aged 13-23 years old were identified using the electronic record system and were approached to complete an anonymous 29-question survey. The survey asked participants about their well-being, appropriateness of environment and awareness of adolescence-related services.
Results 30 patients completed the survey. 48% were under sixteen years old while 41% were sixteen to twenty-one. Approximately half (47%) were male. 63% and 37% were admitted to the paediatric and adult wards respectively. 90% felt this was appropriate. Among the 10% who indicated otherwise, reasons given were ‘being frightened’ by older patients and ‘sharing toilets’. The majority (93%) felt that they understood their condition. However, 83% reported that they had a say in management with 53% feeling that their parents did most of the talking during consultations. The most common topics that participants would like to discuss were education (43%), mental health (29%) and weight management (24%). 28% suffered from low mood or felt the need to seek mental health support. 41% did not know where to access support for sexual health and contraception. 32% had discussions about alcohol, smoking or drugs. Among these, only 38% were told about options for cessation and further help. Three themes were identified as suggested areas of improvement. 1. Participants would like improved facilities with individual toilets, study rooms and private space for adolescents. 2. More entertainment options such as game consoles and better Internet access were proposed. 3. Patients felt they would benefit from more nurses and a quicker discharge process.
Conclusion Adolescents should be placed in more appropriate environments when admitted to hospital to maximise the comfort of their stay, co-horting patients with those of a similar age and providing young person friendly entertainment and resource. Additionally, professionals should opportunistically provide education about their physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing. Finally, referral pathways to community partners need to be established to aid discharge and provide support once a young person has left the hospital.
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