Making up one's mind:--patients' experiences of calling an ambulance

Accid Emerg Nurs. 2006 Jan;14(1):11-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aaen.2005.10.002.


The issue of the inappropriate use of ambulance transport and care has mainly been studied from the professionals' and caregivers' perspective, with few studies focusing on the patient and his/her experiences. To further understand whether patients use ambulance care in an inappropriate manner and, if so, why, it is important to obtain an overall picture of the patients' existential situation at the time they call an ambulance. The aim of this study was to analyse and describe patients' experiences related to the decision to call an ambulance and the wait for it to arrive. The design was explorative, and twenty informants aged between 34 and 82 years were interviewed. Qualitative content analyses were performed. The findings showed that calling for an ambulance is a major decision that is preceded by hesitation and attempts to handle the situation by oneself. Our conclusion is that the definition of inappropriate use of valuable health care resources should not be based solely on the professionals' point of view but also take account of the patients' reactions when they experience a threat to their life and health.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulances*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Decision Making*
  • Emergencies / psychology*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Health Services Misuse
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Time Perception
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data*