Rationale and objectives Relatively few studies have investigated the relationship between patient characteristics and individualised care, in relation to the improvement of care efficiency, efficacy and quality. Individualised care is a key concept in health strategy and policy in Western countries. The aim of this exploratory study was to identify orthopaedic and trauma patients' characteristics relating to their perceptions of individualised nursing care in Western hospital settings.
Methods A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted among orthopaedic and trauma patients (n = 1126) from acute care in hospitals from five countries: Finland, Greece, Sweden, the UK and the USA, in 2005–06. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance and a multivariate analysis of variance (manova) of the main effects.
Results The separate examination of each background factor showed statistically significant differences between patients' perceptions of individualised care. In the multivariate analysis the statistically significant main effects, associated with patients' perceptions, were age, gender, education and type of admission. These explained 13% of the variance in the support of patient individuality in care and 19% in perceived individuality in care received.
Conclusions These results can be used in individualising care to different patient groups and in prioritising and focusing quality programs to improve care. Detailed questions about specific aspects of patients' experiences are likely to be more useful in monitoring hospital performance from the patients' perspective.