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What do outpatients value most in their anesthesia care?


Purpose: To determine what outpatients ranked highest in their anesthesia care and whether anesthesiologists could predict that ranking.

Methods: A 36 item mail-back questionnaire was administered post-operatively to 45 surgical outpatients and to 15 expert anesthesiologists. Respondents were asked to rank the three highest items from each of four lists of nine items representing pre-operative, intra-operative, pre-discharge and post-discharge outpatient anesthesia care.

Results: Complete responses were obtained from 30 outpatients and all anesthesiologists.

In each phase of their care (pre-operative, intra-operative, pre-discharge and post-discharge), outpatients ranked highest those elements representing information and communication. Physical conditions of care tend to be least valued. Although anesthesiologists were able to predict what patients valued in the pre and post-discharge phases of their anesthesia care (r=0.85 and 0.91), they undervalued the importance to patients of communication and information in pre-operative and intra-operative care (r=−0.09 and .65).

Conclusions: Our results reinforce the value that patients place in adequate communication and provision of information in all phases of outpatient anesthesia care, a value that may be underappreciated by anesthesiologists.


Objectif: Déterminer ce que les patients ambulatoires placent au premier rang des soins anesthésiques et vérifier si les anesthésiologistes peuvent prédire ce choix.

Méthode: Un questionnaire, en 36 points, à retourner par la poste, a été présenté après l’opération à 45 patients ambulatoires et à 15 anesthésiologistes experts. Ils devaient choisir les trois éléments les plus importants de chacune des quatre listes de neuf éléments représentant les soins anesthésiques préopératoires, peropératoires, pré-congé et post-congé.

Résultats: Des réponses complètes ont été obtenues de 30 patients ambulatoires et de tous les anesthésiologistes. Pour chaque étape de leurs soins, les patients ont choisi les éléments qui représentent les informations données et la communication. Les conditions physiques des soins ont reçu des valeurs moindres en général. Même si les anesthésiologistes pouvaient prédire ce que les patients valorisaient dans les soins reçus avant et après le départ de l’hôpital (r=0,85 et 0,91), ils ont sous-évalué l’importance de la communication et des informations des étapes préopératoire et peropératoire (r=−0,09 et 0,65).

Conclusion: Nos résultats renforcent la valeur que les patients placent dans une communication et des informations suffisantes à toutes les étapes des soins anesthésiques ambulatoires, une valeur qui a pu être sous-estimée par les anesthésiologistes.


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Correspondence to Donald Fung.

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Fung, D., Cohen, M. What do outpatients value most in their anesthesia care?. Can J Anaesth 48, 12–19 (2001).

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  • Anesthesia Care
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  • High Item
  • Measure Patient Satisfaction