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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Patient-Driven Feedback

Published December 3, 2009 8:06 AM by
Obviously, we all want to provide the best care for our patients.  We want to ensure our patients' goals are achieved and we tailor therapy sessions to their preferences to enhance the healing process.  How do we know if we are doing a good job?  How do we know if we are meeting or exceeding our patient's expectations?  How do we become better therapists if we don't ask our patients for feedback?

In many outpatient clinics patients are asked (at various times) to assess their therapist, the clinic environment, the ease of scheduling appointments, and other factors that effect patient satisfaction.   The information received from the patients directs changes in the clinic.  Clinic owners seek feedback regularly to keep business steady. 

In an inpatient setting, however, this is a little more complicated.   Asking patients for feedback can be overwhelming considering the numerous medical complications and discharge barriers that patients need to consider.  Furthermore, there are some patients who are only hospitalized for one or two days and may not have a firm opinion about PT or OT. 

It's undeniable that patient feedback is important.  Our quality drives patient satisfaction and aides efficient and effective therapy session.  

How does your clinic ask for feedback? Do you ask your patients in an open discussion if you can make their experience better?  How does your clinic use that feedback?


I currently work for the VA and we still to the Satisfaction Surveys called "Quick Cards". Basically it is a short survey that asks for the vet's honest opinion on topics related to the therapy services they received. There are separate cards for most sections. They are filled out and sent to our education department to ensure that we are doing all we can to make the vet's stay as seemless and comfortable as possible. At the end of each fiscal year, the information and satisfaction ratios are sent out to the appropriate sections so that everyone knows what areas received positive feedback, and what areas need improvement. The VA also supplies all employees with Customer Service workshops so that everyone remembers why they chose to work in healthcare in the first place. %0d%0a%0d%0aWe tend to get a lot of positive feedback, but it is really helpful to know what areas need work so that we can strive to do better.

Jen December 4, 2009 3:11 PM

When I worked in the VA it was basically an acute care setting.  We had hospital and out patient clinic patients.  We also had an adjacent nursing home and ancillary specialty out patient programs (cardiac, chronic pain), but they were seen in satellite rehab areas.

In the acute and out-patient clinic we instituted a satisfaction survey.  Upon discharge, the clients were asked for their honest opinion on a variety of topics.  The questions were specific to rehab and did not ask for general hospital feedback.

There is a local hospital where I live now that does those.  I'm not sure if they are sent to every patient or if they use a random system.  These surveys are about all aspects of the hospital, but include a portion for rehabilitation services.

If your facility already has a general survey that is sent out, you could ask them to revise it to include a rehab section before the next printing.

If your facility doesn't already have this form, you could create one specific to rehab.  

Read Dean's post for this week and get plenty of feedback.  Patients don't like filling out worthless forms any more than therapists do.  Before you send out the first form, already have figured out and have a plan and process in place to collect data, analyze it, and implement changes.  If you don't have that plan and process in place, you are wasting your time with the satisfaction survey.

Janey Goude December 3, 2009 3:58 PM

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