Patient education in Western European hospitals: a comparison of the Netherlands, Flanders and England

Patient Educ Couns. 2007 Apr;66(1):4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2006.12.006. Epub 2007 Feb 20.


Objective: This research describes the organization of patient education in hospitals and the conditions that influence this in the Netherlands, Flanders and England.

Methods: The research consists of document analysis and interviews.

Results: On the organizational level, there can be a patient information desk (England and the Netherlands) and/or a specialized officer on patient education (the Netherlands and England). In the three countries/regions, the organization of patient education on the program level, for patient groups, is characterized by consultations of specialized nurses, patient information materials and patient education policy. Expert centers stimulate patient education through training and quality projects. Lobbying by patient organizations is important for the setting up of patient education. Both expert centers and patient organizations are financially dependent on and respond to policy of the government.

Conclusion: Patient education is mostly organized on the organizational level or the program level, or both. Patient organizations and expert centers are conditions that are dependent on the government. Government policy and subsidies are considered as the most important conditions for the organization of patient education in hospitals.

Practice implications: Commitment of officers working in patient education to the Health Promoting Hospital project and the European Association for Communication in Healthcare could stimulate patient education.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Communication
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • England
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitals* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / education*
  • Lobbying
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Netherlands
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration
  • Nurse's Role
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Societies, Scientific / organization & administration
  • Surveys and Questionnaires