Children and young people’s versus parents’ responses in an English national inpatient survey

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Despite growing interest in children and young people’s (CYP) perspectives on healthcare, they continue to be excluded from many patient experience surveys. This study investigated the feasibility of, and additional information gained by, measuring CYP experiences of a recent hospital admission.


Cross-sectional analysis of national survey data.


Inpatients aged 8–15 years in eligible National Health Service hospitals, July–September 2014.


6204 parents/carers completed the parent section of the survey. The CYP section of the survey was completed by CYP themselves (n=3592), parents (n=849) or jointly (n=1763).

Main outcome measures

Pain relief, involvement, quality of staff communication, perceived safety, ward environment, overall experience.


Single-measures intraclass correlations (ICCs) were used to assess the concordance between CYP and parent responses about the same inpatient episode. Multilevel logistic regression models, adjusted for individual characteristics, were used to compare the odds of positive responses when the CYP section of the survey was completed by parents, by CYP themselves or jointly.


The CYP section of the survey was completed independently by 57.8% of CYP. Agreement between CYP and parent responses was reasonably good for pain relief (ICC=0.61 (95% CI 0.58 to 0.63)) and overall experience (ICC=0.70 (95% CI 0.68 to 0.72)), but much lower for questions comparing professionals’ communication with CYP and with their parents (ICC range=0.28 (95% CI 0.24 to 0.32) to 0.51 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.54)). In the regression models, CYP were significantly less likely than parents to report feeling safe (adjusted OR (AOR)=0.54 (95% CI 0.38 to 0.76)), involvement in decisions (AOR=0.66 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.94)) or adequate privacy (AOR=0.68 (95% CI 0.52 to 0.89)).


Including CYP (8–15 years) in patient experience surveys is feasible and enhances what is known from parents’ responses.

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