Background In the changing world of today’s healthcare, it has now been recognised that the provision of services should allow patients participation and their say in priority setting. Patients are now much better informed about their disease, treatment available, and the quality of care to which they are entitled. To improve satisfaction we have to identify the goals and expectations for each patient as these may well differ from those the clinician or health professional may think them to be.
Objectives To further explore these concepts and to identify the goals and expectations of each individual patient when they attended for their first consultation in the Rheumatology Out-Patient Department.
Method A questionnaire was designed and sent to patients for completion prior to their attendance at their first consultation. Four domains were selected and the patients were asked to prioritise them in order of their goals and expectations from this consultation.
1) Pain Relief 2) Diagnosis 3) Outlook 4) Help/Other. An extra option was included for individual comments. 500 fully completed questionnaires were randomly selected from the patient notes in the clinic. The order of priority, patient’s age, gender and diagnosis were recorded. The results were analysed by variance.
Results The study consisted of 166 male and 334 female patients. Their overall First Choice of the categories was – Pain Relief 235(47%) Diagnosis 197(39.5%) Outlook 43(8.5%) Help/other 25(5%).
These results varied by Gender, Age, Inflammatory and Degenerative, and to a lesser degree by Soft Tissue and Mixed Connective Disease.
Conclusion The results suggest that overall relief of pain is of prime importance, especially amongst the elderly and those with R. A. Diagnosis is the main priority for those <40 years and male patients with O. A. Outlook and Practical Help maybe of concern later but is rarely a priority at first consultation.
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