Introduction: Patient dissatisfaction and medication non-compliance correlate with patient misunderstanding of their medications and care plan. We aimed to assess the degree of these gaps and their associations in hospitalized stroke patients.
Methods: A 5-question survey was administered to patients hospitalized on the neuroscience ward of a comprehensive stroke center. Patient understanding of their condition leading to admission, care plan, medications, primary attending physician, and follow-up plan was assessed. If the patient was unable to communicate, then their health care representative was interviewed.
Results: A total of 146 patients (55 stroke and 91 general neurology and neurosurgery (non-stroke) patients) or their representatives were interviewed. Stroke patients were less likely to properly identify their primary attending physician (33/55 (60.0%) stroke patients versus 35/91 (38.5%) non-stroke patients; p=0.011). Inability to identify the attending physician was associated with lack of medication and care plan knowledge and was more common in stroke patients, (23/33 (69.7%) stroke patients versus 14/35 (40.0%) non-stroke patients; p=0.014).
Conclusion: Despite sharing a common pool of providers, the inability to identify the primary attending physician was significantly more common in stroke patients and was associated with patient knowledge deficits regarding their medication regimen and care plan. This correlation was significantly higher in stroke patients and suggests that stroke patients may require different, extra or more robust communication and education than the general neurology and neurosurgery population. Additionally, emphasis on attending physician identification may improve patient satisfaction and medication compliance.