Patients’ perceptions of weekend allied health influence on quality

Dr Lisa O’brien1, Mr Mitchell Sarkies1, Dr Kelly-Ann Bowles1, Ms Romi Haas1, Professor Terry Haines1

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Aim: It is unclear whether acute hospital patients whose wards have weekend allied health services have different perceptions regarding the quality of care received compared to those without. The aim of this study was to determine whether there are differences in perceptions of service quality between patients on wards with/without weekend allied health service, and whether patient comments at discharge are related to overall satisfaction scores, ratings of how much they were helped, or the appropriateness of their length of stay.

Method: 606 randomly selected patients on day of planned discharge from acute medical and surgical wards of two public hospitals completed the Victorian Patient Satisfaction Monitor survey, consisting of four items relating to service quality dimensions. Qualitative comments were categorised using content analysis. Ordered logistic regression was used to identify relationships between comment codes and scaled responses for overall satisfaction and perception of how much the patient was helped by this admission.

Results: Categories of comments were similarly distributed for both groups. Comments relating to staff in general were positively related to overall satisfaction and perception of length of stay appropriateness. Comments regarding staff (and doctors specifically) were positively related to patient ratings of how much they thought they were helped, however those regarding other patients were negatively related.

Significance of findings to allied health: Findings emphasise the importance of creating strong relationships between patients and hospital practitioners.  This was reflected in trust in practitioners’ technical knowledge and skill. Patients value hospital staff who are courteous, sensitive and kind when dealing with patients.