• female patients;
  • dissatisfaction with health care;
  • qualitative content analysis;
  • dignity;
  • information;
  • quality of care

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 144–150

A hidden kind of suffering: female patient’s complaints to Patient’s Advisory Committee

The aim of this study was to describe female patients’ experiences of dissatisfaction with healthcare. People who have been treated with dignity during healthcare encounters are more prone to report better adherence to treatment and higher satisfaction with their care. Good quality care is commonly described as individualized and related to individual needs. This study has a qualitative approach, as the aim was to describe female patients’ experiences of dissatisfaction with healthcare from a first person perspective. A purposive sample of fourteen women was interviewed about their experiences of dissatisfaction with healthcare. The interviews were subjected to a qualitative content analysis. The findings show that the women were treated with indifference when they were being withheld information, felt distrusted, and when they were treated badly they did not receive an apology. The findings also show that the women experienced that they did not feel safe when they had no one liable to turn to within the healthcare when the encounter did not correspond to the women’s needs and expectations. The women’s experiences of being withheld explanations can be seen as a violation of their dignity and a hidden suffering from care. In conclusion, the study shows the importance of receiving a personal explanation after filing a complaint about healthcare and recommends that clinics that receive a complaint from a patient should contact that patient and provide an individualized explanation.