BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Night teams of hospital providers have become more common in the wake of resident physician duty hour changes. We sought to examine relationships between nighttime communication and parents’ inpatient experience.

METHODS:

We conducted a prospective cohort study of parents (n = 471) of pediatric inpatients (0–17 years) from May 2013 to October 2014. Parents rated their overall experience, understanding of the medical plan, quality of nighttime doctors’ and nurses’ communication with them, and quality of nighttime communication between doctors and nurses. We tested the reliability of each of these 5 constructs (Cronbach’s α for each >.8). Using logistic regression models, we examined rates and predictors of top-rated hospital experience.

RESULTS:

Parents completed 398 surveys (84.5% response rate). A total of 42.5% of parents reported a top overall experience construct score. On multivariable analysis, top-rated overall experience scores were associated with higher scores for communication and experience with nighttime doctors (odds ratio [OR] 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–3.08), for communication and experience with nighttime nurses (OR 6.47; 95% CI, 2.88–14.54), and for nighttime doctor–nurse interaction (OR 2.66; 95% CI, 1.26–5.64) (P < .05 for each). Parents provided the highest percentage of top ratings for the individual item pertaining to whether nurses listened to their concerns (70.5% strongly agreed) and the lowest such ratings for regular communication with nighttime doctors (31.4% excellent).

CONCLUSIONS:

Parent communication with nighttime providers and parents’ perceptions of communication and teamwork between these providers may be important drivers of parent experience. As hospitals seek to improve the patient-centeredness of care, improving nighttime communication and teamwork will be valuable to explore.

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