Patients have a legal right to participate in their care and in the decision-making affecting their care in most Western countries. However, this is not only a matter of legal right. According to previous research, treatment outcome may be improved if patients experience greater participation. The aim of this Swedish study was to describe how patients experience their participation in the care, and factors that have an influence on their participation. A phenomenological approach was used and data was collected by interviews with eight inpatients at a surgical ward. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Through analysis, meaning units were organized into themes and the essence was formulated. The experience of participation was expressed in following themes: a need of dialogue, continuity in contact with the staff and control. The essence of participation was the desire of a continuous dialogue with the caregiver, with the aim of exchanging information. Lack of time, as the patient experienced it, among the caregivers reduced the possibility to keep the dialogue. The need of control could force the patient to participate in the care situation.
2004. Vol. 24, 31-37 p.