“Honor thy father and thy mother”: the contribution of verbal concerns to the understanding of elderly patients’ satisfaction

Keren Semyonov-Tal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims first, to provide a typology of complaints concerning the treatment of elderly patients in geriatric wards; second, to estimate reported satisfaction with treatment; and third, to assess the link between verbal concerns and satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach: Using the “Survey of Geriatric Wards, 2019” a sample of 4,725 family members of patients, hospitalized in 99 geriatric wards in Israel were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with treatment; they also were asked to provide verbal information on the hospitalization experience through an open-ended question. A content analysis was applied to the verbal answers, to classify them into distinct qualitative categories; a regression analysis was applied to examine the impact of the concerns on the level of patient satisfaction, net of patient’s characteristics. Findings: Level of satisfaction among family members is very high (8.16 on a scale from 1–10), with only very few expressing verbal concerns (2.3%). Content analysis reveals five reoccurring themes: physical violence (33.3%), verbal violence (19.2%), discrimination (21.2%), lack of dignified hospitalization conditions (8.1%) and communication (18.2%). Further analysis reveals that satisfaction among those who complained, especially about interpersonal relations, is considerably and significantly lower than others. Originality/value: Despite high levels of satisfaction with medical care in geriatric wards, the findings underscore voiced complaints as major source for explaining dis-satisfaction with hospitalization. Complaints in the realm of interpersonal relations, especially regarding verbal violence, discrimination and communication, seem to be most consequential for lowering levels of satisfaction with treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
Issue number2
StatePublished - 11 Oct 2021


  • Elderly dignity
  • Geriatric wards
  • Patient complaints
  • Patient concerns
  • Patient dignity
  • Patient satisfaction


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