Geriatric patients' expectations of their physicians: findings from a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan
1 Medical College, The Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800, Pakistan
2 Department of Family Medicine, The Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800, Pakistan
BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:205 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-205Published: 13 November 2009
Geriatric health is a neglected and under-explored area internationally and in Pakistan. We aimed to ascertain the expectations of the geriatric patients from their physicians and the factors associated with patient satisfaction in this particular age bracket.
A cross-sectional survey was carried out at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Data collection was carried out via face-to-face interviews based on structured, pre-tested questionnaires. All consenting individuals aged 65 years or above were recruited into the study. Convenience sampling was used to draw the sample. The data was analyzed using SPSS version 16. Geriatric patient's expectations from physicians were elicited using a set of 11 questions that were graded on a scale of 1-3 where 1 = not important, 2 = important, 3 = very important.
Three hundred and eighty geriatric patients were interviewed. The response rate of this study was 89.8%. The mean age of the respondents was 73.4 ± 6.8 years. Two hundred and forty eight respondents (65.3%) were female. Diabetes mellitus (53.7%), hypertension (59.5%), arthritis (40.5%) and renal disease (32.1%) were common ailments among geriatric patients. More than 50% of the patients were visiting their physicians once every two to three months. Discussing treatment options and letting patients make the final decision (79.2%), prescribing minimum possible medications (84.5%), physician's holistic knowledge about the spectrum of care issues for geriatric patients (79.2%), being given a realistic but optimistic picture of future health by physicians (85.5%) were ranked as very important expectations by patients from their physicians. Cumulative household income (p = 0.005), most important health complaint (p = 0.01) and frequency of experiencing health complaint (p < 0.001) emerged as independent predictors of the satisfaction of geriatric patients from care provided by physicians.
We have documented the expectations of the geriatric patients from their physicians in a developing country. Physicians belonging to all disciplines should keep these expectations in mind during clinical encounters with geriatric patients.