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Keywords:

  • perioperative quality;
  • surgery;
  • operating department;
  • patients’ perspectives;
  • recovery;
  • instrument development;
  • methods

The quality of perioperative care: development of a tool for the perceptions of patients

Aim of the study. To find out how surgical hospital patients (n=874) perceived the quality of perioperative care they received in an operating department and in the recovery room.

Background. Patients’ perceptions of the perioperative care have not been included systematically in the improvement of the care. Accordingly, there is no standardized, valid, and reliable instrument or system in common use that we could use for the evaluation. The nursing care in operating departments has an important role in modern health care, and therefore more research concerning perioperative care quality is needed urgently and the development of the measurement tool is urgent.

Method. The data were collected using a structured questionnaire in five operating departments in southern Finland during 1998.

Results. Physical activities (such as pain management and temperature maintenance) were rated as excellent, as were staff characteristics and the physical and social environment. The most critical comments were made with regard to supporting patient initiative, encouragement and educational activities. Patients stated they would have liked more information and it was felt that they should have been encouraged to ask more questions about unclear matters. Some of the patients said they had only very limited influence over their own care. The patients were very pleased with their care in the recovery room. There were only minor differences between the views of patients from different departments.

Conclusions. Overall the quality of care was considered extremely good, but comparisons of different quality categories did reveal some problems. Although it has already proved to be a useful tool, the questionnaire needs to be developed and tested further.