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A hospital built environment can affect patients’ treatment satisfaction, which is, in turn, associated with crucial clinical outcomes. However, little research has explored which elements are specifically important for psychiatric in-patients. This study aims to identify which elements of the hospital environment are associated with higher patient satisfaction with psychiatric in-patient care.
The study was conducted in Italy and the United Kingdom. Data was collected through hospital visits and patient interviews. All hospitals were assessed for general characteristics, aspects specific to psychiatry (patient safety, mixed/single-sex wards, smoking on/off wards), and quality of hospital environment. Patients’ treatment satisfaction was assessed using the Client Assessment of Treatment Scale (CAT). Multi-level modelling was used to explore the role of environment in predicting the CAT scores adjusted for age, gender, education, diagnosis, and formal status.
The study included 18 psychiatric hospitals (7 in Italy and 11 in the United Kingdom) and 2130 patients. Healthcare systems in these countries share key characteristics (e.g. National Health Service, care organised on a geographical basis) and differ in policy regulation and governance. Two elements were associated with higher patient treatment satisfaction: being hospitalised on a mixed-sex ward (p = 0.003) and the availability of rooms to meet family off wards (p = 0.020).
As hospitals are among the most expensive facilities to build, their design should be guided by research evidence. Two design features can potentially improve patient satisfaction: family rooms off wards and mixed-sex wards. This evidence should be considered when designing or renovating psychiatric facilities.
Patient satisfaction is a key indicator of inpatient care quality and is associated with clinical outcomes following admission. Different patient characteristics have been inconsistently linked with satisfaction. This study aims to overcome previous limitations by assessing which patient characteristics are associated with satisfaction within a large study of psychiatric inpatients conducted across five European countries.
All patients with a diagnosis of psychotic (F2), affective (F3) or anxiety/somataform (F4) disorder admitted to 57 psychiatric inpatient units in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK were included. Data were collected from medical records and face-to-face interviews, with patients approached within 2 days of admission. Satisfaction with inpatient care was measured on the Client Assessment of Treatment Scale.
Higher satisfaction scores were associated with being older, employed, living with others, having a close friend, less severe illness and a first admission. In contrast, higher education levels, comorbid personality disorder and involuntary admission were associated with lower levels of satisfaction. Although the same patient characteristics predicted satisfaction within the five countries, there were significant differences in overall satisfaction scores across countries. Compared to other countries, patients in the UK were significantly less satisfied with their inpatient care.
Having a better understanding of patient satisfaction may enable services to improve the quality of care provided as well as clinical outcomes for all patients. Across countries, the same patient characteristics predict satisfaction, suggesting that similar analytical frameworks can and should be used when assessing satisfaction both nationally and internationally.
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