What Factors Affect Inpatient Satisfaction?

Madeleine A.

In a hospital, inpatient satisfaction may depend on factors such as the bedside manner of the physician, nursing care, and nurse-to-patient ratio. When the hospital unit is understaffed, patient care suffers because the nurses are only able to spend a limited amount of time at the bedside with each patient. Conversely, hospitals that are adequately staffed often get high marks in inpatient satisfaction surveys filled out by the patients upon discharge.

Bedside manner and amenities affect patient satisfaction with hospitals.
Bedside manner and amenities affect patient satisfaction with hospitals.

Another important factor in evaluating inpatient satisfaction is whether the patient enjoyed his dining experience. Patients sometimes scoff at hospital food, but many hospitals provide gourmet meals and even allow the patient to order off a large menu. Hospitalized patients are sick and sometimes anxious, making appetizing meals even more important in helping to ease their stays.

Patients suffer when a hospital is understaffed.
Patients suffer when a hospital is understaffed.

Staff response also plays an important role in inpatient satisfaction levels. When a patient buzzes for the nurse, he expects a timely response, and may become annoyed when she doesn't show up quickly. Many times, patient calls are routine, however, sometimes they require an immediate response. When a patient is kept waiting while on the bedpan or toilet, inpatient satisfaction will likely decrease. If an ambulatory patient rings for help because he needs assistance getting to the bathroom, the wait can prove humiliating as the patient may have an accident in his bed or on the floor.

Giving stellar medical care is the main priority at any hospital, and when that care is achieved, it makes for a less stressful stay for the patient. The cleanliness of the facility is also important in maintaining inpatient satisfaction. Not only is a clean hospital esthetically important, it is also essential for the health and safety of its patients, employees and visitors. Hospital rooms should be cleaned daily and as needed, and linen should be changed daily as well. Bad odors should also be eliminated.

Other hospital amenities can contribute to inpatient satisfaction as well. These amenities might include a hospital gift shop, coffee shop, a sun room, and an outdoor courtyard. In addition, hospital volunteers can cheer up patients by visiting them and bringing them magazines and newspapers to pass the time. Some hospitals and inpatient treatment centers even provide pet therapy. Being around dogs and cats can ease stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood.

Being around a cat or dog has been shown to improve inpatient satisfaction for some people.
Being around a cat or dog has been shown to improve inpatient satisfaction for some people.

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