Objective: To identify factors contributing to elderly stroke patients' satisfaction with rehabilitation following stroke.
Design: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews.
Setting: Interviews conducted in two phases, once in a stroke rehabilitation unit and once after hospital discharge.
Subjects: Twelve elderly stroke patients (seven women and five men, aged 60-87 years).
Results: One main category: 'To be treated with respect and dignity' was identified as a core factor contributing to patients' satisfaction with the rehabilitation services. This main factor was divided into five subcategories: (1) Being treated with humanity, (2) Being acknowledged as individuals, (3) Having their autonomy respected, (4) Having confidence and trust in professionals, (5) Dialogue and exchange of information. The statements covered a continuum from satisfaction via indifference to dissatisfaction. Expressions of satisfaction emerged mainly as general statements while expressions of dissatisfaction described situations in greater detail. Satisfaction was merely connected to daily care experiences and fulfillment of basic needs. Trust in providers and being dignified seemed more closely associated with satisfaction than being involved in treatment decisions. The findings demonstrate how the quality of patient-professional interaction influences patients' satisfaction with stroke rehabilitation.
Conclusion: To be treated with respect and dignity seems to be a core element influencing vulnerable elderly stroke patients' satisfaction with rehabilitation. A merely functional definition of the success of rehabilitation should be expanded into an approach encompassing patients' perceptions and personal preferences. The meaning of dignity for elderly stroke patients in the rehabilitation setting should be further clarified and given practical substance.