Aim. The aim of this paper is to report the findings of a study that elucidated the experiences and reflections of people with type 2 diabetes about clinical encounters.
Background. Several patient satisfaction surveys have focused on privacy, cheerfulness and amenities rather than on how the care was delivered. A great deal of research has also focused on communication and various consultation styles, particularly within health promotion and diabetes care, but how these factors tie up with patient satisfaction has rarely been discussed. This study was performed in order to elucidate patients’ perspectives about clinical encounters in diabetes care.
Method. Interviews were carried out during 2001 with 44 patients with diabetes. The transcribed interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results. Five themes were connected to patient satisfaction and dissatisfaction, namely ‘being in agreement vs. in disagreement about the goals’; ‘autonomy and equality vs. feeling forced into adaptation and submission’; ‘feeling worthy as a person vs. feeling worthless’; ‘being attended to and feeling welcome vs. ignored’; and, lastly, ‘feeling safe and confident vs. feeling unsafe and lacking confidence’.
Conclusion. Despite efforts to individualize diabetes care and find ways to communicate with patients, many people have experiences of clinical encounters that they find dissatisfying. Experiences of dissatisfying encounters have elements that may threaten their perception of self and identity, while elements included in satisfying encounters are those characterizing patient-centred care.