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Clin J Pain. 1997 Sep;13(3):229-36.

Assessment of postoperative pain management: patient satisfaction and perceived helpfulness.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Increasing attention has been given to the assessment of patient satisfaction as a way to monitor quality of care in hospital settings. Postoperative patient satisfaction has been thought to be related to level of pain intensity, expectations of outcome, perceived concern by the staff, and helpfulness of treatments. The aim of this study is to develop a simple, reliable measure to assess pain and satisfaction in postsurgical patients and to examine factors related to patient satisfaction.


A satisfaction questionnaire was developed for this study and administered to 119 patients who had undergone a major orthopedic surgical procedure. The majority of the patients were diagnosed with osteoarthritis and reported moderate to severe preoperative pain. The 13-item measure was found to be reliable (test-retest r = .86; interexaminer r = .98), valid (exploratory factor analyses; intercorrelations), and easy to administer.


Results showed that the majority of the patients were satisfied with their care (91%), postoperative pain intensity (94%), and the way they were treated by the physicians and nurses (98%). Patients with low postoperative pain ratings who perceived that the physicians and nurses showed concern with how much pain they were feeling reported greatest satisfaction with their care (p < .001). In general, lower postoperative pain ratings were the best predictors of satisfaction and helpfulness of treatment. Preoperative pain status, expected level of postoperative pain, and time waiting for pain medication after a request was made were not significantly correlated with ratings of postoperative pain or satisfaction.


These results highlight the important influence of adequate treatment of postoperative pain and perceived concern by the hospital staff on patient satisfaction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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