Patient and relative complaints in a hospital emergency department: a 4-year analysis
Suat Zengin, Behcet Al, Erdal Yavuz, Cem Şen, Şener Cindoruk, Cuma Yıldırım
Keywords: Patient complaints, emergency department; staff-patient communication; complaint rate
Objective: Complaints by patients and their relatives are an important source of information for service improvement. In order to take remedial measures, the present study evaluated the complaints of patients and their relatives about our emergency department (ED).
Method: Records of all patient complaints, from June 2008 to June 2012, were retrieved from the Quality Improvement Unit (QIU) archives. All complainants were contacted by phone. The socio-demographic profiles of complainants, their reasons for complaints, and the outcomes were analyzed using the SPSS statistical package.
Results: The results revealed that 54 complaints have been made against our ED over four years relating to medical care, staff attitudes, waiting time, and financial reasons. Of the complainants, 75.9% were male (n=41), and 24.1% (n=13) were female. The majority (29.7%, 20.4%) of the complaints were due to medical care and attitude problems. Most complaints were made for green code patients (55.6%). The majority of complaints were about emergency physicians (38.9%). Complaint frequency was 0.18 per 1.000 visits.
Conclusion: Complaints are potentially useful quality assurance tools, and can identify remediable system flaws. The main causes of complaints are medical care, staff attitude, and waiting time, and many of these causes are remediable.