Quality of Care in the Psychiatric Setting : Perspectives of the Patient, Next of Kin and Care staff

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this thesis was to describe quality of care from different perspectives in the psychiatric setting, to develop an instrument for measuring quality of care from the in-patient perspective and to use this instrument empirically. A qualitative descriptive design involving a phenomenographic analysis was used in Studies I, III and IV, and a descriptive and comparative design with statistical analysis in Study II.In Study I, 20 patients were interviewed. The results showed that quality of care was perceived as a positive, normative concept namely as good quality of care. 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 care; the patient’s Recovery; and the patient’s care Environment. In addition, two conceptions that had not explicitly emerged in previous studies on quality of care were identified: Being helped to reduce the shame and Being looked upon as like anyone else.In Study II a definition of quality of care from a patient perspective was formulated on the basis of the results in Study I. A two-part instrument the Quality in Psychiatric Care (QPC) was developed for measuring the patients’ expectations regarding quality of care (QPC-1) and their subsequent experience of it (QPC-2). One hundred and sixteen patients answered both parts of the instrument. Overall, the quality of care was rated high in both parts. However, experienced quality of care was significantly lower than the patient’s expectations in all the dimensions of the instrument: Total dimension, Dignity, Security, Participation, Recovery and Environment. Patients who perceived that the time of discharge was consistent with the stage of their illness experienced significantly higher Recovery; patients with good psychiatric health also experienced this, but had in addition significantly higher levels of Participation. This new instrument exhibited too high Cronbach’s alpha values (QPC-1 0.87–0.98, QPC-2 0.85–0.98), which means the instrument needs to be further tested in order to improve its psychometric properties.Twelve next of kin were interviewed in Study III. The next of kin described quality of care mainly from their own perspective, but also to a large extent from the patient’s perspective as well. They described it in both positive and negative terms. Five descriptive categories resulted: Dignity, Security, Participation, Recovery and Health-promoting surroundings. Good relations and communication between staff, patients and next of kin emerged as the central factors regarding the quality of care. The next of kin asked for information about mental illnesses and wanted to co-operate and participate in the patient’s care. They avoided telling others about their family member’s psychiatric illness because of a feeling of shame and guilt.In Study IV, 20 care staff and care associates were interviewed. They described quality of care both from the patient’s perspective and from a professional perspective. They perceived the concept as a positive one and as being of great importance for the patient’s health and life situation. Four descriptive categories resulted: the patient’s Dignity is respected; the patient’s Participation in the care; the patient’s Recovery; and the patient’s care Environment plays an important role.The main contribution of this thesis with regard to the concept of quality of care in the psychiatric setting is its emphasis on the significance of the different perspectives described above, as such knowledge is vital when planning and implementing and evaluating quality of psychiatric care. In addition, the descriptive categories that emerged in this thesis clearly highlight the importance of interpersonal relationships in the care situation. The new instrument (QPC) needs psychometric testing before it routinely can be used as a self-rating instrument for the purpose of improving psychiatric inpatient care and help guide the proper allocation of care resources.