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Patient's knowledge, goals and attitudes towards physical and occupational therapy in a skilled nursing facility

1 May 1994


Patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly important in the health care field as health care institutions are having to compete for fewer insured patients. Patient satisfaction may also be an indicator of better treatment outcomes. This qualitative study gathered information by interviewing elderly patients in a skilled nursing facility. The information gathered included: the patients' goals, likes and dislikes related to physical and occupational therapy treatments, the number of therapy sessions patients refused to participate in during a two week period, level of understanding of their medical condition and the purpose of physical and occupational therapy. Forty-three patients admitted to a skilled nursing facility the summer of 1993 and December 1993 were screened for significant cognitive deficits. Twenty patients out of the twenty-seven patients who were not excluded because of cognitive deficits completed the initial and final interviews. Fifty-five percent of the patients were women over the age of 70 with orthopedic diagnoses. Ninety percent of the patients were accurate in their descriptions of their major medical diagnoses. Independence in self care and being able to return to their previous living situation were the most frequently cited goals of the patients. The purposes most frequently associated with physical therapy were to increase strength and mobility. Instruction in and achievement of independence in self care was the most frequent purpose cited for occupational therapy. Seventy-five percent of patients were able to mention specific things they liked about both therapies. The majority of patients did not have any complaints regarding physical and occupational therapy. More patients refused to participate in more physical therapy sessions than occupational therapy sessions. Ten patients refused to participate in a total of eighteen physical therapy sessions as compared to three patients refusing a total of five occupational therapy sessions. The most common reason for refusal was fatigue. The subjective information given by patients in this study could be used in inpatient settings to assess and integrate patient preferences into the treatment process.


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