A comprehensive view of parental satisfaction with pediatric emergency department visits

Ann Emerg Med. 2013 Oct;62(4):340-50. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.04.025. Epub 2013 Jun 17.


Study objective: We develop a comprehensive view of aspects of care associated with parental satisfaction with pediatric emergency department (ED) visits, using both quantitative and qualitative data.

Methods: This was a retrospective observational study using data from an institution-wide system to measure patient satisfaction. For this study, 2,442 parents who brought their child to the ED were interviewed with telephone survey methods. The survey included closed-ended (quantitative) and open-ended (qualitative data) questions, in addition to a cognitive interview-style question.

Results: Overall parental satisfaction was best predicted by how well physicians and nurses work together, followed by wait time and pain management. Issues concerning timeliness of care, perceived quality of medical care, and communication were raised repeatedly by parents in response to open-ended questions. A cognitive interview-style question showed that physicians and nurses sharing information with each other, parents receiving consistent and detailed explanations of their child's diagnosis and treatments, and not having to answer the same question repeatedly informed parent perceptions of physicians and nurses working well together. Staff showing courtesy and respect through compassion and caring words and behaviors and paying attention to nonmedical needs are other potential satisfiers with emergency care.

Conclusion: Using qualitative data to augment and clarify quantitative data from patient experience of care surveys is essential to obtaining a complete picture of aspects of emergency care important to parents and can help inform quality improvement work aimed at improving satisfaction with care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Pain Management / standards
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Care Team / standards
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Waiting Lists