Patient participation in public elections: a literature review

Nurs Manag (Harrow). 2011 Mar;17(10):32-6. doi: 10.7748/nm2011.


Healthcare organisations and nurse leaders have an important role in promoting patients' right to vote, through the development of policy guidelines, integrated networking and innovative practice. Patients' mental capacity to vote is usually assessed by nurses, who must therefore be aware of clients' voting rights and if the right resources are in place to help them do so. Patients' rights, as citizens, are recognised in law and in professional guidelines, but more needs to be done to protect their voting rights. There should also be better access to transport and family support, and more flexible electoral procedures. This article reviews the literature on promoting patients' participation in local and general elections and suggests that their voting rights should be endorsed by organisations and nurse leaders through policy guidelines and a flexible and proactive nursing approach to participation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Nurse's Role
  • Patient Advocacy*
  • Politics*
  • Residential Facilities
  • United Kingdom
  • Vulnerable Populations