Satisfaction with emergency department service among non-English-speaking background patients

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The present study aims to investigate non-English-speaking background (NESB) patients' satisfaction with hospital ED service and compare it with that of English-speaking background (ESB) patients.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted at the ED of an adult tertiary referral hospital in Queensland, Australia. Patients assigned an Australasian Triage Scale score of 3, 4 or 5 were surveyed in the ED, before and after their ED service. Pearson χ2-test and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the differences between the ESB and NESB groups in terms of patient-reported satisfaction.


In total, 828 patients participated in the present study. Although the overall satisfaction with the service was high – 95.1% (ESB) and 90.5% (NESB) – the NESB patients who did not use an interpreter were less satisfied with their ED service than the ESB patients (odds ratio 0.5, 95% confidence interval 0.3–0.8, P = 0.013). The promptness of service received the lowest satisfaction rates (ESB 85.4% [82.4–88.0], NESB 74.5% [68.5–79.7], P < 0.001), whereas courtesy and friendliness received the highest satisfaction rates (ESB 98.8 [97.6–99.4], NESB 97.0 [93.9–98.5], P = 0.063). All participants reported the promptness of service (33.5%), quality and professional care (18.5%) and communication (17.6%) as the most important elements of ED service.


The NESB patients were significantly less satisfied than the ESB patients with the ED service. Use of an interpreter improved the NESB patients' level of satisfaction. Further research is required to examine what NESB patients' expectations of ED service are.

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