Sunday, November 13, 2005
This presentation is part of : Mental Health Strategies
Evaluating Patient Satisfaction on a Locked Psychiatric Unit
Betty Facey, RN, MSN, Nursing, Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Battle Creek, MI, USA
Learning Objective #1: Identify two reasons for implementing a patient satisfaction survey on a locked psychiatric unit
Learning Objective #2: Identify the importance of vulnerable psychiatric patients being empowered by the patient satisfaction survey process

The purpose of this project was to evaluate patients' perceptions of their care while hospitalized on an inpatient locked psychiatric unit.

A review of the literature revealed information about patients' satisfaction with care related only to out-patient settings. A dearth of data evaluates patients' responses to inpatient settings where severity of mental illness symptoms is greatest. Many of the patients are admitted involuntarily because of severe psychiatric symptoms and inability to function in the community. Length of stay is short, patients leave the hospital with symptoms still present, patients are often dissatisfied because they feel badly, and they do not always want to leave the hospital. To focus on improving care, patients' perceptions about their hospital experience needs elucidating. This quality improvement project was created to plan and then to evaluate improvements over a one-year period.

Over twelve months, nursing staff administered a 21-item patient satisfaction survey to 203 psychiatric patients on a locked unit shortly before their discharge from the hospital. All patients were included in the distribution, regardless of diagnosis, after their symptoms stabilized enough for their discharge. As an investigator-created tool, the first 15 items of the survey consisted of yes/no answers to simple questions about hospital care, such as legal rights, primary care providers, medications, treatment planning, living environment, and improvement in symptoms. The final six items required ranking the helpfulness of the daily community meeting, activities, skills classes, and meeting with the physician, nurse, and social worker. The mental health team set a goal of 90% for each item. The team reviewed the results quarterly and made changes in care accordingly.

Inpatient psychiatric patients can be surveyed about their perceptions of care. The finding helped identify program strengths and weaknesses. Staff dedication and commitment were evident in the demonstrated satisfaction improvements.