Like a Bunch of Cattle: the Patient’s Experience of the Outpatient Health Care Environment

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/149411
Type:
Presentation
Title:
Like a Bunch of Cattle: the Patient’s Experience of the Outpatient Health Care Environment
Abstract:
Like a Bunch of Cattle: the Patient’s Experience of the Outpatient Health Care Environment
Conference Sponsor:Sigma Theta Tau International
Conference Year:2001
Conference Date:November 10 - 14, 2001
Author:Plaas, Kristina
P.I. Institution Name:University of Tennessee
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore outpatients’ experience of the environment. Whereas the hospital was once the primary setting for health care delivery, it has been predicted that more than a third of American hospitals will close in the early decades of the 21st century (Risse, 1999). Increasingly, patients receive care in physicians’ offices, ambulatory surgery centers, and community-based clinics. Many of these sites are designed for technologic efficiency and staff convenience rather than to create a comforting, healing environment for patients. There is scant literature about the patient’s first-person perspective on the outpatient experience. Design: To discover what patients are aware of in the outpatient environment, without directing them to focus on specific aspects of it judged to be important by researchers, a phenomenological design was employed, following the procedure outlined by Thomas and Pollio. Sample: Eight patients, two men and six women ages 19-79, were recruited from a variety of outpatient settings. Participants had to be at least 21 years of age, not seriously ill or acutely distressed at the time of the interview, and willing to talk to researchers about their experience. Participants provided informed consent prior to being interviewed. Setting: Patients had received health care in numerous outpatient settings, including physicians’ offices, cancer treatment clinics, senior health centers, cardiac rehabilitation centers, and emergency rooms. Some interviews were conducted in private offices in these settings, while others took place in patients’ homes or other locations that were mutually agreed upon. Phenomenon of Interest: The phenomenon of interest in this study was the patient’s experience of the outpatient environment. Method and Procedure: Nondirective, in-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for meaning units and themes. Findings: Thematic analysis revealed five interrelated themes depicting polarities of waiting/immediate, cold and uninviting/warm and inviting, object/person, powerless/powerful, and frightened versus cared for. Participants repeated used terms such as cold, sterile, harsh, and uninviting to describe the outpatient health care environment, “cold” having both the literal meaning of room temperature and the symbolic meaning of emotional climate. They often described small, crowded spaces filled with uncomfortable furniture. Arrangement of furniture was also important: Specific displeasure was expressed at having to sit in the middle of a waiting room where others could see them suffering. Many experiences were depicted in terms of being treated like “cattle” or “objects on an assembly line”. Conclusions: Patients wanted outpatient environments to be comfortable, accommodating, and warm, dispensing prompt and personalized care. “Being cared for” meant being considered in their wholeness rather than in terms of test results. Having to wait for long periods, unattended to, was frustrating, frightening, and in some cases even life threatening. Implications: Nurses and other health care providers must listen to the dissatisfactions voiced by these study participants and use these findings to humanize inhuman outpatient settings.
Repository Posting Date:
26-Oct-2011
Date of Publication:
10-Nov-2001
Sponsors:
Sigma Theta Tau International

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleLike a Bunch of Cattle: the Patient’s Experience of the Outpatient Health Care Environmenten_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/149411-
dc.description.abstract<table><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-title">Like a Bunch of Cattle: the Patient&rsquo;s Experience of the Outpatient Health Care Environment</td></tr><tr class="item-sponsor"><td class="label">Conference Sponsor:</td><td class="value">Sigma Theta Tau International</td></tr><tr class="item-year"><td class="label">Conference Year:</td><td class="value">2001</td></tr><tr class="item-conference-date"><td class="label">Conference Date:</td><td class="value">November 10 - 14, 2001</td></tr><tr class="item-author"><td class="label">Author:</td><td class="value">Plaas, Kristina</td></tr><tr class="item-institute"><td class="label">P.I. Institution Name:</td><td class="value">University of Tennessee</td></tr><tr class="item-email"><td class="label">Email:</td><td class="value">preemies81@aol.com</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-abstract">Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore outpatients&rsquo; experience of the environment. Whereas the hospital was once the primary setting for health care delivery, it has been predicted that more than a third of American hospitals will close in the early decades of the 21st century (Risse, 1999). Increasingly, patients receive care in physicians&rsquo; offices, ambulatory surgery centers, and community-based clinics. Many of these sites are designed for technologic efficiency and staff convenience rather than to create a comforting, healing environment for patients. There is scant literature about the patient&rsquo;s first-person perspective on the outpatient experience. Design: To discover what patients are aware of in the outpatient environment, without directing them to focus on specific aspects of it judged to be important by researchers, a phenomenological design was employed, following the procedure outlined by Thomas and Pollio. Sample: Eight patients, two men and six women ages 19-79, were recruited from a variety of outpatient settings. Participants had to be at least 21 years of age, not seriously ill or acutely distressed at the time of the interview, and willing to talk to researchers about their experience. Participants provided informed consent prior to being interviewed. Setting: Patients had received health care in numerous outpatient settings, including physicians&rsquo; offices, cancer treatment clinics, senior health centers, cardiac rehabilitation centers, and emergency rooms. Some interviews were conducted in private offices in these settings, while others took place in patients&rsquo; homes or other locations that were mutually agreed upon. Phenomenon of Interest: The phenomenon of interest in this study was the patient&rsquo;s experience of the outpatient environment. Method and Procedure: Nondirective, in-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for meaning units and themes. Findings: Thematic analysis revealed five interrelated themes depicting polarities of waiting/immediate, cold and uninviting/warm and inviting, object/person, powerless/powerful, and frightened versus cared for. Participants repeated used terms such as cold, sterile, harsh, and uninviting to describe the outpatient health care environment, &ldquo;cold&rdquo; having both the literal meaning of room temperature and the symbolic meaning of emotional climate. They often described small, crowded spaces filled with uncomfortable furniture. Arrangement of furniture was also important: Specific displeasure was expressed at having to sit in the middle of a waiting room where others could see them suffering. Many experiences were depicted in terms of being treated like &ldquo;cattle&rdquo; or &ldquo;objects on an assembly line&rdquo;. Conclusions: Patients wanted outpatient environments to be comfortable, accommodating, and warm, dispensing prompt and personalized care. &ldquo;Being cared for&rdquo; meant being considered in their wholeness rather than in terms of test results. Having to wait for long periods, unattended to, was frustrating, frightening, and in some cases even life threatening. Implications: Nurses and other health care providers must listen to the dissatisfactions voiced by these study participants and use these findings to humanize inhuman outpatient settings.</td></tr></table>en_GB
dc.date.available2011-10-26T10:01:52Z-
dc.date.issued2001-11-10en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-26T10:01:52Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipSigma Theta Tau Internationalen_GB
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