Author(s): McCarthy DM, Ellison EP, Venkatesh AK, Engel KG, Cameron KA
BACKGROUND: Effective communication is important for the delivery of quality care. The Emergency Department (ED) environment poses significant challenges to effective communication.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to determine patients' perceptions of their ED team's communication skills.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study in an urban, academic ED. Patients completed the Communication Assessment Tool for Teams (CAT-T) survey upon ED exit. The CAT-T was adapted from the psychometrically validated Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) to measure patient perceptions of communication with a medical team. The 14 core CAT-T items are associated with a 5-point scale (5 = excellent); results are reported as the percent of participants who responded "excellent." Responses were analyzed for differences based on age, sex, race, and operational metrics (wait time, ED daily census).
RESULTS: There were 346 patients identified; the final sample for analysis was 226 patients (53.5% female, 48.2% Caucasian), representing a response rate of 65.3%. The scores on CAT-T items (reported as % "excellent") ranged from 50.0% to 76.1%. The highest-scoring items were "let me talk without interruptions" (76.1%), "talked in terms I could understand" (75.2%), and "treated me with respect" (74.3%). The lowest-scoring item was "encouraged me to ask questions" (50.0%). No differences were noted based on patient sex, race, age, wait time, or daily census of the ED.
CONCLUSIONS: The patients in this study perceived that the ED teams were respectful and allowed them to talk without interruptions; however, lower ratings were given for items related to actively engaging the patient in decision-making and asking questions.Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences