Parents’ Priorities and Satisfaction with Acute Pediatric Care
Ammentorp J, Mainz J, Sabroe S. Parents’ priorities and satisfaction with acute pediatric care. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:127-31.
Researchers from Kolding Hospital in Denmark designed this study to identify parents’ priorities of and satisfaction with care provided to pediatric patients by nurses and physicians. The cross-sectional study took place on the pediatric ward by enrolling consecutively admitted patients between 0800 and 2200 who spoke and understood Danish. The researchers designed and validated a 36 item questionnaire with input from 13 previous studies about patient satisfaction. The items were assessed using a 5-point Likert scale and were grouped into six dimensions of service: 1) Access to care and treatment, 2) Information and communication related to care and treatment, 3) Information related to practical conditions (i.e., orientation to the ward), 4) Physicians’ behavior, 5) Nurses’ behavior, and 6) Access to service. The survey consisted of two parts. Section 1 addressed priorities and was to be filled out by the parent(s) at admission. Section 2 addressed satisfaction and was to be filled out at discharge. The response rates for Section 1 and Section 2 were 84% and 67%, respectively. Statistical analysis demonstrated that parents could differentiate between priority and satisfaction.
Parents generally rated most aspects of care as important, and aspects related directly to treatment were rated highest. The three most important priorities with the assigned scores with 5 being the highest possible score were: 1) Find(ing) out what is wrong with the child (4.6), 2) Taking care of the child’s pain if it is relevant (4.6), and 3) Explanation of the diagnosis/problem (4.5). The least important items for parents in general were related to orientation of the ward. Interestingly, the least important item for parents in the study was having the child discharged the same day as admission (2.7).
Parents were most satisfied with the kindness of the nurses (4.4) and understanding the nurses information (4.3). The lowest satisfaction level was found with waiting time on the ward for medication evaluation, and this was also the greatest gap between priority and satisfaction for the parents in the study (priority 4.5, satisfaction 3.0)
The researchers present satisfaction and priority data together in a scatter plot with priority mean score on the vertical axis and satisfaction mean score on the horizontal access and in so doing create four quadrants that aid in focusing attention on improving quality on their ward. The researchers conclude that items that plot in the upper left quadrant deserve special attention as items that parents believe are important but are not satisfied with. Items differentiating between physician and nursing involvement in the same service areas were plotted as well, and results indicated that, in general, parents gave physician service higher priority but were more satisfied with nursing service.
The researchers conclude that the tool they describe is a validated questionnaire that can be used to evaluate parent priorities for and satisfaction with care provided on pediatric inpatient wards. This information can be used to guide further investigations and quality development. For the study ward this tool demonstrated that waiting time and communication with parents represented the most important areas for improvement.
Satisfaction is an important aspect of quality of care, as well an important attribute of the potential value added by physicians dedicated to inpatient medicine. Several important factors limit generalizing the specific conclusions of this study, including not including the non-Danish speaking minority and not identifying parents whose children have had multiple inpatient admissions. Regardless, the survey and scatter plot analysis with a “special attention” quadrant have obvious utility in the effort to produce quality improvement with regard to parents’ perception of the quality of care their children receive. Other interesting applications not specifically addressed in the study include measuring the priorities and satisfaction level of patients old enough to respond, including questions regarding service provided by nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants and testing to see if parents’ and/or patients’ priorities change from admission, through hospitalization, and at discharge.