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Privacy in hospital


Eva Bäck College of Health and Caring Sciences, Box 741, S-79129 Falun, Sweden.


Privacy during hospitalization can be jeopardized as caring situations are often intimate. The aims of the current study were to explore patients’ and nurses’ attitudes towards privacy and to study whether nurses’ perceptions of patients’ privacy needs corresponded with the patients’ own reported needs. Two questionnaires were used for the data collection, which included 120 consecutive patients and 42 nurses responsible for the participating patients’ individual care. The main findings indicated that patients and nurses agree in the ratings of the major components of privacy in general, but privacy in hospital was estimated more highly by the nurses than by the patients themselves. Being allowed to talk to the physician in private was given the highest preference. Patients in long-term care had higher privacy preferences than those in acute care. An explanatory approach is needed to study the need for privacy in different caring situations and how privacy needs could be recognized and met by nurses.

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