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Title: A case study of patient dignity in an acute hospital setting
Author: Baillie, Lesley
ISNI:       0000 0001 2417 5591
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2007
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UK healthcare policies emphasise that patients' dignity should be respected. However, studies indicate that hospital patients are vulnerable to a loss of dignity. There is a dearth of research relating to patient dignity generally and little research ~as been undertaken in acute hospital settings specifically. A qualitative case study examined the meaning of patient dignity and how patient, staff and environmental factors affect patients' dignity. The study's setting was a surgical ward, specialising in urology, and ethical approval was obtained. Data were collected from post discharge interviews with patients (n=12); four-hour periods of participant observation (n=12) with follow-up interviews with patients (n=12) and staff (n=13); observation of staff handovers (n=12); interviews with senior nurses (n=6); and examination of Trust documents. Data were analysed using Ritchie and Spencer's (1994) framework approach. A model of patient dignity was presented to portray the definition which developed from the findings: 'Patient dignity is feeling valued and comfortable psychologically with one's physical presentation and behaviour, level of control over the situation, and the behaviour of other people in the environment'. Lack of privacy in hospital threatened dignity, heightened by bodily exposure and a mixed sex environment. A conducive physical environment, a dignity-promoting culture and leadership, and other patients' support promoted patient dignity. Staff being curt, authoritarian and breaching privacy threatened dignity. Staff promoted dignity by providing privacy and interactions which made patients feel comfortable, in control and valued. Patients' impaired health threatened dignity due to loss of function, intimate procedures and psychological impact. Patients promoted their own dignity through their attitudes and developing relationships with staff. A second model was constructed to portray how patients' dignity is threatened or promoted by staff behaviour, the hospital environment and patient factors. The results emphasise that staff behaviour and the hospital environment have an important impact on whether patient dignity is threatened or promoted. However, patient factors can also promote dignity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available