Patients Characteristics and Perception of Quality of Care in a Teaching Hospital in Anambra State, Nigeria
Introduction: Patients' assessment of quality of health care despite its importance in uptake of available services has not been closely examined in developing countries. The main objective of this study was to assess patient's perception of the quality of healthcare services as offered at the General Outpatients Department (GOPD) of a Teaching Hospital in order to obtain rational information for effective policy formulation on improved patient care in our hospitals.
Methodology: This was a four-week duration descriptive cross-sectional study involving three hundred and ninety (390) new adult patients seen at the General Out-Patients' Department of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi. Using a self-administered pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire in English language, relevant information was obtained from the participants.
Results: A total of 390 adult new patients with mean age 31.4 years participated in the study of which females 216 (55.5%) were slightly more than males 174 (45.5%). About 225 (57.7%) of the respondents received at most a primary school education. The major reasons for seeking care at the GOPD were expectations of being attended to by qualified doctors and nurses (38%); receiving efficient and quality service (36%) and obtaining cheaper and affordable drugs (14.5%). Aquarter of the patients (25%) waited for up to one hour to register, while 38% spent more than an hour before being attended to by a doctor. Seventy percent (70%) of the patients opined that the nurses were friendly, 94.5% of the patients rated the doctors as being friendly while 82.5% expressed satisfaction with the care received from the doctors. The conditions of the waiting hall were deemed very comfortable by 42%,and 42% felt that it was uncomfortable. In all 79% of the patients felt that the quality of care was good and 82% were willing to return for consultations in future if need be.
Conclusions: The waiting time for obtaining the patients' card and doctors' consultation appeared to be unacceptably long in this hospital and some respondents were not satisfied with the services rendered. Further studies should be directed at ascertaining the cause of their dissatisfaction and strategies put promptly in place to reverse them.
Keywords: quality of care, policy formulation, patient consultation, GOPD, rational information