Patient satisfaction at the Chronic Pain Management Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital
Keywords:chronic pain, Chronic Pain Management Clinic, patient satisfaction, University of Cape Town
Background: Chronic pain is a costly and debilitating ailment with an estimated global prevalence of 20%. The evaluation of patients’ satisfaction with pain management is crucial both to ensure that care provided remains fit for purpose and to identify opportunities for improvement. Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) has one of the few functional interdisciplinary pain clinics in South Africa with more than 900 patients seen per year. To date, there had been no data informing us about patient satisfaction at the clinic. The aim of our study was to survey patients who are being treated at the Chronic Pain Management Clinic to determine their level of satisfaction with the service.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 67 patients who had been attending the Chronic Pain Management Clinic for more than three months. Data were collected telephonically using the patient demographics form and the internationally validated pain treatment satisfaction scale (PTSS). The data were then analysed using descriptive statistics.
Results: The mean age of the 67 participants was 56.5 years (SD 12.9; age range: 18–83). In this sample, 81% of the participants are female while 70% of the participants had not completed 12 years of schooling. Most of the participants were referrals from orthopaedics (48%), followed by referrals from day clinics (13.5%). The median pain severity score was 7.5 (IQR 7–9) a week prior to data collection. The majority of participants (70%) reported that they could ask the staff questions and were provided with adequate support and care. Results indicate that six in every ten patients are satisfied with their pain management at the GSH Chronic Pain Management Clinic. One aspect of care which was less than satisfactory related to patients receiving information about their condition and the treatment thereof. In general, participants would have appreciated more information about their illness or injury (51%), causes and treatments of the pain, as well as side effects of the pain medication (60%).
Conclusion: Most participants were either somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with all aspects of care they were asked about. It is clear that patient satisfaction is not only driven by pain relief but can also be enhanced by good patient-provider relationships and shared decision-making. It is, therefore, important to continually train healthcare providers to improve their communication skills.
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