Communication and compliance in eye casualty

Beth Edmunds, Peter J. Francis, Andrew R. Elkington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aimed to assess patients' perceptions and priorities when consulting doctors in eye casualty, to assess their satisfaction with eye casualty and to evaluate and improve patients' level of knowledge and understanding of their treatment. Methods: A selected consecutive group of 130 patients presenting to eye casualty between 1 July and 15 September 1995 was interviewed by two of the authors prior to collecting their medication. A further group was interviewed again after collecting their medication from the hospital pharmacist. The hospital pharmacist reiterated treatment details when patients collected their medication. Interviews were conducted by means of a questionnaire. There was no inter- or intra-observer variation. Patients' priorities and perceptions were measured as percentages of the group. Patient satisfaction was measured both by a score on a standardised questionnaire and on a visual analogue scale. Patient recall of treatment details was scored as correct or incorrect. The score prior to and after seeing the pharmacist was compared in those patients who were interviewed after collecting their medication. Results: Among the patients 30.8% considered themselves emergencies, 20.8% were referred and the remainder attended for non-urgent reasons. Eighty-three per cent (83.0%) were wholly satisfied with the consultation. The consultation scored an average of 8.3, SD 1.6, measured on a visual analogue scale of 0-10. When asked the most important aspects of the consultation 54.6% cited treatment, 25.4% reassurance and 20.0% diagnosis. Ninety-six per cent felt that their treatment had been adequately explained; however, 78.3% made errors when reporting their regimen. A significant improvement in patients' level of recall was found after they had received further information from the hospital pharmacist. Conclusions: Firstly, this study shows patients' perceptions and priorities when visiting eye casualty. Secondly, it demonstrates that patients are generally satisfied with their eye casualty attendance. Thirdly, many patients depart with poor understanding of their eye treatment regime which is likely to affect compliance. Communication between doctors and patients was enhanced by involvement of the hospital pharmacist. This strategy is applicable not only to an ophthalmic casualty unit but also to a wider range of settings and could provide a service standard for future audit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-348
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Accident and emergency
  • Communication
  • Compliance
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Pharmacist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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