Journal Article

Effect of timing on the response to postal questionnaires concerning satisfaction with anaesthesia care

D. Saal, M. Nuebling, Y. Husemann and T. Heidegger

in BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia

Published on behalf of the British Journal of Anaesthesia

Volume 94, issue 2, pages 206-210
Published in print February 2005 | ISSN: 0007-0912
Published online November 2004 | e-ISSN: 1471-6771 | DOI:
Effect of timing on the response to postal questionnaires concerning satisfaction with anaesthesia care†‡

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Background. There is little information on the effect of time on the assessment by the patient of quality of anaesthesia care. This study compared the patient's assessment of anaesthesia care after three different periods of time following discharge from hospital.

Materials. Three groups of patients were assigned to receive a standardized, validated psychometric questionnaire either 1, 5, or 9 weeks after discharge from hospital. We measured response rate and the total mean problem score of six dimensions.

Results. Groups 1, 2, and 3 received 748, 743, and 723 questionnaires, respectively. The response rates including one reminder were 67.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] 63.9–70.6%), 64.5% (CI 61.1–67.9%), and 58.9% (CI 55.5–62.4%), respectively (Group 1 vs Group 3, P<0.001, and Group 2 vs Group 3, P<0.05). The total mean problem scores were not significantly different with 17 (CI 1.4%), 17 (CI 1.4%), and 15% (CI 1.3%), respectively. In two out of six dimensions (‘Continuity of personal care by anaesthetist’ and ‘Nursing care in recovery room’) significantly less problems were reported after 9 weeks. The other dimensions of the questionnaire showed no consistent differences between groups.

Conclusions. The response rate is significantly lower at 9 weeks compared with 1 and 5 weeks after discharge. The total mean problem score remains unchanged but certain fields show fewer problems after 9 weeks compared with 1 and 5 weeks. Questionnaires on patient satisfaction with anaesthesia care should be sent within 5 weeks of discharge.

Keywords: anaesthesia, audit, mailed survey questionnaire; anaesthesia, quality management; patient satisfaction

Journal Article.  3053 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anaesthetics

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