Experiences with Hospital Care: Perspectives of Black and Hispanic Patients

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Patient focus groups provide further evidence that many health care providers need to learn more about the expectations of their minority patients, these patients’ specific needs and preferences, and their satisfaction with care received. Researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted focus groups with 37 black and Hispanic men and women to explore racial and ethnic differences in patients’ experiences with hospital care. The patients, who had been recently released from medical, surgical, or obstetrical services at an urban academic medical center, talked about experiences that fell into the following patient satisfaction categories: respect for patient preferences, physical comfort, involvement of family and friends, continuity and transition of care, coordination of care, information and education, and emotional support. Participants identified two additional themes not commonly examined in many patient satisfaction surveys: attitudes of social workers and nursing staff and quality of translators. Overall, the researchers found that medical patients were less satisfied with their care than surgical or obstetrical patients. Furthermore, black and Hispanic obstetrical and surgical patients were more likely than white patients to perceive that their preferences were not well respected. To respond to such concerns, the researchers say hospitals should: 1) strive to better understand the expectations of black and Hispanic patients; 2) hire a culturally diverse work force; and 3) collect racial and ethnic data about satisfaction of care.

Publication Details

Publication Date: September 25, 2009
Authors: LeRoi S. Hicks, Dora A. Tovar, E. John Orav, and Paula A. Johnson
Citation:
L. S. Hicks, D. A. Tovar, E. J. Orav et al., "Experiences with Hospital Care: Perspectives of Black and Hispanic Patients," Journal of General Internal Medicine, August 2008 23(8):1234–40.
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