This paper reports on attempts to obtain users, views of their continuing care community psychiatric service, and how these views indicate the extent of their satisfaction with their service. It examines current issues in assessing user satisfaction and provides rationale for the methodology chosen. The authors carried out a survey of 80 community psychiatric clients, 65 of whom (81%) returned completed questionnaires. The two principal methodological findings are that high response rates to questionnaires can be obtained and that despite misleading reported high levels of satisfaction, specific areas of concern or good practice can still be highlighted using survey methods. The principal satisfaction findings are that users of this service appear to regard nursing interventions that are concerned with providing emotional support as important and that the nurses are particularly good at meeting these needs. Secondly, that medication and side effects are highlighted as an area of care that users are not particularly satisfied with. This study is an introduction to the issues of user satisfaction with community services. Owing to the limitations, in particular formally establishing the psychometric properties of validity and reliability (Thomas and Bond 1996) this questionnaire serves only as the preliminary stage of this investigation. Further, more detailed qualitative enquiry must follow.
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