Background: Although individualised nursing care is considered a core value in nursing in different countries, international comparative studies in this area are rare. In Western countries, common hospitalised patients, e.g. orthopaedic patients, often perceive health care as impersonal rather than individualised; a term which may also have different connotations in different cultures.
Objectives: To describe and compare orthopaedic and trauma patients perceptions of individuality in their care in four European countries.
Design: A cross-sectional comparative study.
Settings: 24 orthopaedic and trauma wards in 13 acute care hospitals.
Participants: Data were collected from orthopaedic and trauma patients in Finland (n = 425, response rate 85%), Greece (n = 315, 86%), Sweden (n = 218, 73%) and UK (n = 135, 58%) between March 2005 and December 2006.
Methods: Questionnaire survey data using the Individualised Care Scale (ICS) were obtained and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics including frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations, 95% confidence intervals (CI), one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), chi(2) statistics and univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
Results: Patients perceived that nurses generally supported their individuality during specific nursing interventions and perceived individuality in their care. There were some between-country differences in the results. Patients individuality in the clinical situation and in decisional control over their care were also generally well supported and taken into account. However, patients personal life situation was not supported well through nursing interventions and these patients perceived lower levels of individualised care.
Conclusions: North-South axis differences in patients perceptions of individualised care may be attributed to the way nursing care is defined and organised in different European countries. Differences may be due to the differences in regional samples, and so no firm conclusions can be made. Further research will be needed to examine the effect of patient characteristics and health care organisation variables in association with patients perceptions of individualised care.
2008. Vol. 45, no 11, 1586-1597 p.