Distinguishing patient satisfaction with treatment delivery from treatment effect: a preliminary investigation of patient satisfaction with symptoms after physical therapy treatment of low back pain.
To investigate the discrepancy between ratings of pain intensity and patient satisfaction by evaluating a questionnaire item that assesses patient satisfaction with treatment effect.Inception cohort.Ambulatory care.Sixty-six consecutive patients referred to outpatient physical therapy (PT) with acute low back pain (LBP).PT using treatment-based classification guidelines.Patient satisfaction 6 months after receiving PT for LBP.Patient satisfaction with symptoms was considerably lower than the other patient satisfaction items. Patient satisfaction with symptoms was responsive to measures of treatment effect (Spearman rho range, .36-.44, P < .01) and with whether expectations were met (Spearman rho = .45, P < .01). Patients who were satisfied with symptoms reported higher physical function, lower pain intensity, and less symptom bothersomeness (P < .01) at 6 months. The 2 strongest absolute and unique predictors of patient satisfaction with symptoms at 6 months were whether treatment expectations were met and change in symptom bothersomeness.This study suggested that a questionnaire item assessing patient satisfaction with symptoms allows patients to distinguish between satisfaction with treatment effect and treatment delivery.
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