• acute care;
  • demographic characteristics;
  • elderly patient;
  • nursing needs;
  • quality of care

This article reports on a study designed to determine whether demographic characteristics of patients such as age, gender and cultural background were associated with different perceptions of the importance of and satisfaction with various aspects of nursing care. In addition, patients, their family/carer and nurses from wards specializing in aged care were compared with general medical wards to determine if there were differences in these perceptions. Results demonstrated that patients who were older (aged > 80 years), female and from aged care wards perceived that physical aspects of nursing care were more important than did patients who were younger (aged 65–80 years), male and from medical wards. Older patients and those from aged care wards were more satisfied with physical care. Nurses need to be aware of these differences and focus on physical aspects of care to ensure patient satisfaction better health outcomes.