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

Keren Semyonov-Tal (Department of Labor Studies, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Article publication date: 8 July 2021

Issue publication date: 11 October 2021




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.


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.


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.


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.



The author would like to extend her gratitude to Haya Stier for the helpful comments and suggestions. I would also like to thank the Ministry of Health of Israel for providing the data.Funding: The author received no financial support for the research and/or publication of this article.Declaration checks – The author declares that ethical approval and patient consent was not required for their paper, as this study is based on official public data released by the ministry of health in Israel.


Semyonov-Tal, K. (2021), "“Honor thy father and thy mother”: the contribution of verbal concerns to the understanding of elderly patients’ satisfaction", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 95-105.



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