Patient experience in the pediatric emergency department: do
parents and children feel the same?
Received: 9 February 2017 /Revised: 21 June 2017 /Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published online: 1 July 2017
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017
Abstract The objectives are to describe the experience of chil-
dren and parents in a pediatric emergency service (PED) and to
determine whether there are differences of opinion between the
two groups. This was a descriptive study. A questionnaire was
designed based on the Picker questionnaire on the patient ex-
perience. From July through December 2015, a survey was
made of the children aged 8–18 treated in the PED, as well as
of their parents. The proportion of dissatisfaction was deter-
mined. A total of 514 questionnaires (257 children, 257 parents)
were completed. The most poorly rated aspects according to the
children and parents were the entertainment activities (43.2%),
the waiting time (23.7%), and the treatment for pain (10.5%).
Differences were detected in the experiences of the children and
the parents regarding the overlong waiting time (28.0% chil-
dren vs 19.5% parents; p = 0.023), inadequate explanations (7.0
vs 1.6%, p = 0.002), inadequate treatment for pain (14.4 vs
6.6%; p = 0.004), and insufficient privacy (11.7 vs 2.7%;
p < 0.001).
Conclusion: The entertainment activities during the wait
and the waiting time are the two elements viewed most nega-
tively by the children and the parents. The children tend to
evaluate certain aspects of their experience as patients more
negatively, which needs to be borne in mind in order to im-
prove the attention provided.
What is Known:
• Studying the experience of patients is a key point in patient-centered
• The experience of the pediatric patient has been little studied to date.
The experience of the children is often inferred from that of their
parents. Nevertheless, the experience of the children as patients might
What is New:
• Overall, the experience of children and parents in the pediatric
emergency department in the study is positive. Some aspects of the
experience in emergency are poorly rated by the children, such as the
waiting time, the information provided, treatment for pain, and privacy
during the visit.
• The experience of the children (and not merely that of their parents)
needs to be studied in order to improve those areas that are rated
poorly do as to enrich the experience in the emergency department.
Keywords Patient experience
PED Pediatric Emergency Department
The experience of the patient is the total sum of all the inter-
actions, produced by the culture of an organization, that are
Communicated by Mario Bianchetti
* Cristina Parra
Pediatric Emergency Department, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu
Barcelona, Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950 Esplugues de
Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Eur J Pediatr (2017) 176:1263–1267