BACKGROUND: To provide equal care and treatment of cardiac patients it is common practice to base the work on clinical guidelines. These guidelines mainly cover the provider perspective rather than the patient perspective. Patient satisfaction, however, is an important parameter within quality development of professional services in hospitals. Patient satisfaction is, i.e. connected with the amount of information provided to the patient and how much patients are involved in their care and treatment. This is also assumed to apply within cardiac practice. However, in relation to acute admission there is no clear picture of the patients' real preferences; likewise there is no documentation whether these preferences correspond with the nurses' assumptions.
AIM: The aim of this study was primarily to investigate what preoccupied patients admitted to cardiac care units with acute coronary syndrome in connection with the first hours of their admission, and secondly to discuss these perceptions in relation to the nurses' perception from a previous pilot study.
METHOD: A qualitative descriptive analysis of 30 semi-structured interviews was carried out to investigate the patient perception and assessment of care and treatment by acute admission.
RESULTS: The patients included 22 men and 8 women with an average age of 59 (SD=11.5) years. In all, 5 themes: efficiency, professionalism, pain management, compassionate nursing and information were considered essential and all together they expressed what preoccupied the patients.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to show what the patients think is important, also during acute admission. In general, the patients felt they were in good hands. Most important was the care providers' competencies and that they "knew their job". The patients' experience of pain management might suggest insufficient care and treatment within this field.