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Patients experienced a lack of control over their time in hospital

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Question What are patients' experiences and perceptions of “time” during a hospital stay?


Grounded theory.


South of England, UK.


11 patients of varying ages with different medical conditions who were in hospital in an acute care medical ward.


Data were gathered by observing interactions between patients and nurses in hospital. Each patient also participated in an indepth, unstructured interview in his or her home. During the interview, patients were asked to talk freely about their feelings of being in hospital and were prompted for follow up of their ideas. Participants were not directed to talk specifically about their perceptions of “time” while in hospital. Data were systematically coded, categorised, and compared within and across interviews using the technique of constant comparison.

Main findings

Time was an important problem in the life of patients in hospital. During their hospital stay, patients felt their …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr I M Holloway, Institute of Health and Community Studies, Bournemouth University, Royal London House, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth BH1 3LT, UK. Fax +44 (0)1202 504194.