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February 2005

Listening to Families: First Steps Toward Improved Hospital Care

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(2):187-188. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.2.187

The Institute of Medicine’s Crossing the Quality Chasm1 and a growing body of evidence linking patient-centered care to improved physiologic and functional health outcomes2,3 challenge pediatricians to identify and improve aspects of care that matter most to families. The study by Ammentorp et al4 in the current issue of the ARCHIVES is important because parents of hospitalized children were asked directly about the importance of elements of care, and their satisfaction with those elements was assessed. In the authors’ hospital in Denmark, parents rated items related to communication about diagnosis and treatment, pain management, and waiting as extremely important, yet satisfaction with these elements of care was relatively low. Satisfaction was highest for interactions with nurses, although interactions with physicians were judged to be just as important as interactions with nurses, if not more so. Areas of great importance and low satisfaction provide high-yield opportunities for hospital quality-improvement efforts that may also improve outcomes for patients and families.

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