Want to know the truth? Just ask your patients

Surveys can provide valuable feedback

Patient satisfaction surveys are used at Egleston-Scottish Rite Children’s Health Care System in Atlanta to evaluate the quality of the health information being disseminated. Twice a year (in the spring and fall), nurses distribute a one-page questionnaire in both the inpatient and outpatient areas.

There are several questions pertaining to patient education in general and one designed to determine if the material is beneficial. That question is: "Were you able to understand the materials you received and do you feel they were beneficial?"

Patients or family members are asked to fill out the survey anonymously and put it in a drop box before leaving the facility. This boosts the return rate on the survey, explains Kathy Ordelt, RN, CRRN, CPN, patient and family education coordinator.

Another effort to evaluate how beneficial patient education materials are has not worked as well. A postcard with return postage is included with large patient education packages such as the one for oncology patients, yet only about 1% of the recipients of the material return the card. Questions on the card include whether or not the patient or caregiver understood the material and what suggestions they have for improving the material. "We received some good feedback, but with a 1% return we aren’t continuing with the evaluation," says Ordelt.