Handling Patients’ Expectations at Emergency Departments

Nurse comforting a senior in the hospitalDuring the last 10 years, the growing rate of visits in Emergency Departments (ED) has overlapped the decreasing numbers of both ED’s and inpatient beds. This is why the medical industry has to find a way to address the need, beginning with hiring more emergency department staff to serve more patients.

Emergency Staffing Solutions agrees that having enough emergency room personnel is a good solution to the problem.

The Neglected Need

The ED’s around the country are facing increasing tension of providing care for more patients without the proper resources. This department deals with upsetting waiting room situations, long waiting hours, and overcrowding, which can affect patient satisfaction and experience.

The Study Conducted

A research published in the Patient Experience Journal examines the connection between communication of anticipated wait times at the triage and patient satisfaction. They used a pre-post group design from 11th of April 2008 until 2nd of May 2009. It carried a convenience tester for every discharged adult patient.

The researchers based the constant anticipated wait time model on the triage levels, the day of the week, and time of the day. They used this to inform patients about the anticipated wait time at the triage. They gave out a five-point patient satisfaction questionnaire at the discharge desk. This included inquiries to identify whether the staff notified them about the delays. It also asked them about their level of satisfaction with their wait time at the triage, as well as their general rating of the visit.

The Revelation

The team discovered that the notification of delays interference was substantial only for the total ED rating. Meanwhile, the binary communication rating was considerably linked to all of the three patient satisfaction inquiries. Patients who didn’t get notifications regarding the delays were 1.42 to 5.48 times more likely to rank the survey ‘lower than very good’.

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For those who got notifications about the delays, the percentage of participants who responded ‘very good’ was 14.6 percent higher. Moreover, those who ranked it very poor or poor were 5.9 percent lower.

The study discovered that even though notification of delays interference is not important, the patients who got information about the wait times were considerably more satisfied. This clearly shows that patients are more willing to wait longer as long as they get updates regarding the delays.