Aim. The aim was to describe how patients perceived the concept of quality of care in psychiatric care.
Background. It is important to include patients’ experiences in defining quality of care and in the development of instruments measuring quality of psychiatric care, as patients have unique information. But only a limited number of studies have directly involved patients.
Design. It was a qualitative interview study with 20 adult in and outpatients from psychiatric care.
Method. A phenomenographic approach was used for the analysis of the interviews.
Results. The results showed that quality of care was perceived as a positive concept, namely as ‘good’ quality of care. The normative component was striking. Five descriptive categories emerged: The patient's dignity is respected; The patient's sense of security with regard to care; The patient's participation in the care; The patient's recovery; and The patient's care environment. Two conceptions emerged that had not emerged explicitly in earlier studies of quality of care: Being helped to reduce the shame and Being looked upon as like anyone else.
Conclusions. The findings emphasize the importance of the interpersonal relationship between patients and staff. There is a need for further exploration of central aspects of quality in psychiatric care.
Relevance to clinical practice. It is important that the knowledge about how patients perceived the quality of care in psychiatric care is included in the planning and evaluation of care. The guidelines should designate quality of care from the patient perspective as the goal of interventions.