Background: In the context of medical quality assurance, patient satisfaction with medical and organisational aspects of health care service is considered to be a relevant outcome of patient surveys after a stay in hospital. Within quality research, it is assumed that assessments of patient satisfaction represent a direct measure of the quality of health care received. Furthermore, there is evidence that satisfied patients demonstrate higher levels of compliance for the course of their treatment and that the probability of successful treatment completion thus considerably increases. The present analysis aims to identify determinants of satisfaction of seriously injured patients with regard to their acute hospitalisation.
Materials and methods: One hundred twenty-one seriously injured survivors of work-related or traffic-related accidents treated in two hospitals in Cologne during the years 1996 to 2001 were sent a survey questionnaire. In addition to socio-demographic details, the survey covered the subjective evaluation of organisational and structural aspects of the acute hospitalisation and the psychosocial care provided by the medical staff.
Results: Employing the "tailored design method", a response rate of 74.4% (n = 90) was obtained. Three highly significant factors influencing the satisfaction of seriously injured patients were identified by means of logistic regression: (1) patients' perception of being involved in treatment, (2) patients' feeling of being neglected by physicians and (3) patients' perception of trust in physicians.
Conclusions: In the present study, the perceived quality of psychosocial care proved to have a significant effect on patients' satisfaction with their hospital stay. Results of the current analysis thus indicate that psychosocial aspects of physician-patient interaction are of considerable importance in the medical care of seriously injured patients. Although this study is mainly based on subjective patient reported outcome, there is evidence that the subjective view of a patient is relevant in many aspects of medical treatment and outcome. These results already gave the motivation to develop a prospective interventional study with a training programme of communication skills to improve subjective and objective outcome parameters of severely injured patients.