Objective: Patients' perceptions and satisfaction are areas of growing concern in health care research, but little has been reported from the perspective of elderly persons. The purpose of this study was to describe elderly patients' perceptions of care in the emergency department.
Methods: A qualitative, descriptive study design was used. Twelve elderly people were interviewed following a treatment episode in 1 of 3 emergency departments in the western United States and data were submitted to content analysis according to qualitative, interpretive methodology.
Findings: The following 5 themes emerged from the analysis: "needs for information," "observations of waiting time," "perceptions of professional competency and caring service," "concerns about process and facility design," and "personal tolerance."
Discussion: Findings support some aspects of existing literature and offer additional information regarding care of elderly persons in the emergency department. Results also support the need for more research in the area of the actual experience of elderly patients in the emergency department.