Long-term conditions have a significant impact on individuals, their families, and the health service. As people with these conditions represent a high proportion of hospital admissions, investigating their experiences of inpatient care has become an important area of investigation. We conducted a secondary analysis of the NHS adult inpatient survey for England to compare the hospital experiences of three groups of patients: those without long-term conditions, those with a single long-term condition, and those with multiple long-term conditions. We were particularly interested in the extent to which these patients received self-management support from hospital staff, so we developed a brief summary tool drawn from salient questions in the survey to aid the comparison.
Analysis of data from the 2011 national adult inpatient survey (n = 65,134) to compare the experiences of three groups of patients: those with no limiting long-term conditions (No-LLTC), those with one limiting long-term condition (S-LLTC), and those with two or more limiting long-term conditions (M-LLTC). The main outcome measure was patients’ self-reports of their experience of inpatient care, including staff-patient interactions, information provision, involvement in decisions and support for self-care and overall ratings of care. A short form scale, the Oxford Patient Involvement and Experience scale (OxPIE) was developed from the adult inpatient survey and used to compare the groups using logistic regression.
There were significant differences between the No-LLTC group in comparison to both the S-LLTC and M-LLTC groups. Patients with limiting long-term conditions reported significantly worse hospital experiences than those without, as measured by OxPIE: S-LLTC odds ratio = 1.23, 95% CI 1.03-1.48; M-LLTC odds ratio = 1.64, 95% CI 1.19 – 2.26. Responses to a single global rating question were more positive but not strongly correlated with OxPIE.
Patients with LLTCs were more critical of their inpatient care than those with no LLTCs. Those with more than one long-term condition reported worse experiences than those with a single limiting condition. Simple rating questions may not be sufficiently sensitive to reflect important aspects of patients’ experience.