One of the indicators for quality of care is patient satisfaction. It is an important measure for evaluating quality and performance of health care systems. In case of children, surrogate’s views, such as parents, becomes very important.
It is not known if the parent’s satisfaction was affected by the severity of the child’s illness. Among different conditions, childhood cancer is considered one of the greatest challenges a family can face. This study explores this association among a group of children diagnosed with cancer in Ontario. Specifically, is parents’ satisfaction with quality of service, efficacy of communication, and perception of wait times associated with severity of illness.
Parents of children diagnosed between 1997 and 2000 were asked to complete a questionnaire about satisfaction and wait times. Statements were related to quality of services and the level of satisfaction. Based on the diagnosis, treatment intensity, and treatment duration, each child was classified as high, medium, and low severity.
With nearly 50% response rate, our group of patients was a representative sample of childhood cancer cases during 1997–2000. The survey indicated a high level of parent satisfaction with Ontario’s childhood cancer services. The results indicate that parents of children with severe illness are less satisfied both with access and communication. These parents reported less satisfaction with wait times in clinic (RR = 0.78) and time with primary doctor (RR = 0.92). They perceived the wait time to be longer in almost all categories. Wait times for a chemotherapy bed seem to be of more concern for these parents.