Evid Based Nurs 12:29 doi:10.1136/ebn.12.1.29
  • Qualitative

Patients felt greater personal control and emotional comfort in hospital when they felt secure, informed, and valued

A M Williams

Dr A M Williams, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia;


What aspects of the hospital environment affect patients’ feelings of personal control and emotional comfort?


Qualitative study using the grounded theory method.


Hospitals in Perth, Western Australia.


56 patients >18 years of age (median age range 54–64 y, 59% women) who had been admitted to hospital for any episode of illness and could converse in English.


Data were collected through 78 hours of field observation and semistructured interviews with patients. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed thematically using the constant comparative method.


Patients identified 3 conditions of the hospital environment that affected their feelings of personal control and emotional comfort. (1) Level of security. Patients’ feelings of personal control increased when assistance was available to help them do things they could not do by themselves; they felt insecure and experienced emotional discomfort when assistance was lacking. One patient described being afraid of injury and feeling insecure when he could not get assistance to fix a broken bed. …

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