Comfort during digital rectal examination – patient preference*
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The sex and age of the physician performing the digital rectal examination (DRE) procedure is one of the parameters influencing patients’ comfort. It is postulated that the stress related to DRE during admission to the surgical ward may affect the compliance. The aim of the study was to characterize patients’ preferences according to their sex, age, socioeconomic status and according to DRE-related variables. Material and methods. Patients admitted to the Department of General and Colorectal Surgery at Medical University in Łódź between October 2014 and June 2015 were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their sex, age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status and preference for a physician performing the DRE during admission to the surgical ward. Results. The study enrolled 225 patients, 52% (n=117) women and 48% (n=108) men. Most patients 73.3% (n=244) expressed no preference for sex of the physician performing the DRE during admission, while 22.7% (n=51) preferred a same-sex physician. Analysis showed that the age, female sex, lower education status, small amount of comorbidities and number of hospitalizations, and no previous colonoscopy experience were all associated with preference for a same-sex physician. Conclusions. In our study most patients expressed no preference for sex of the physician performing the DRE during admission to the surgical ward. However, over one-tenth of patients reported such preferences. Most of these patients preferred a same-sex physician. It is important to offer these patients the choice of physician performing the DRE. Addressing patients’ preferences may improve the atmosphere in the clinical environment, reduce stress, and facilitate better treatment.
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