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Acad Emerg Med. 2002 Dec;9(12):1379-88.

Patient satisfaction in the emergency department--a survey of pediatric patients and their parents.

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Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97201-3098, USA.



To assess and compare overall satisfaction in pediatric emergency department (ED) patients and their accompanying parents. To identify aspects of health care delivery that influence satisfaction in these groups.


Pediatric patients (ages 5-17 years) and their parents (or guardians) seen at a university hospital pediatric ED were eligible. A convenience sample of English-speaking subject pairs (n = 101 pairs) was enrolled. Questionnaires were administered to both children and their parents at the completion of their ED care. The survey instruments used a modified Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale and a six-point interval scale. Factors measured included overall satisfaction, perceptions of pain and fear, and other characteristics of the ED visit. Data were analyzed using paired Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, Spearman rank correlation coefficients, and Fischer's exact chi-square tests (alpha = 0.05) where appropriate.


Parent satisfaction was associated with the quality of provider-patient interactions (R = 0.54, p = 0.0001), the adequacy of information provided (R = 0.47, p = 0.0001), and shorter waiting room times (R = -0.24, p = 0.01). Child satisfaction was associated with the quality of provider-patient interactions (R = 0.24, p 0.04), adequacy of information provided (R = 0.51, p = 0.003), and resolution of pain (R = 0.25, p = 0.03). Parent estimates were similar to children's initial pain scores; however, children reported greater resolution of pain than appreciated by their parents (p = 0.006).


Satisfaction can be validly and reliably measured in pediatric patients using a visual scale instrument. Factors that influence patient satisfaction were similar among both children and their parents. The influence of pain resolution on pediatric ED satisfaction is a novel finding, which demonstrates the importance of appropriate pain and anxiety assessment and treatment in children.

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