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Monitor: Hospitals

Happiness With Stay Is Linked to Recovery

January 21, 2002

When it comes to helping people get well, a little TLC can be just as important as the right medications and proper medical procedures, a Harvard Medical School study has found.

After their discharge, 1,300 heart attack patients were polled about their hospital stay.

Researchers asked if their preferences were respected, if their friends and families were kept up to speed about their condition, and if they received emotional support, adequate pain control, sufficient information about their illness and coordinated care from the hospital staff.

One month later, patients who had a worse hospital experience were in poorer health than those who said their experience was positive. This same observation held true even a year later.

The bright spot is that negative consequences of an unpleasant hospital stay could be offset by good quality follow-up care. Patients who had a bad experience in the hospital but satisfactory care afterward enjoyed the same good health as those who were happy with their care all along.

--Linda Marsa

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