Patient–patient interaction – caring and sharing

Lene Søndergaard Andersen, Regner Birkelund

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Aim: The aim of this study is to provide an understanding of
the significance of hospitalized patients’ interpersonal
interaction with fellow patients in an infectious disease
ward in a large Danish hospital.
Method: A qualitative approach was selected using participant
observation and semi-structured qualitative interviews.
Six female participants at the age of 32–81 years with different
types of infectious diseases accepted to participate in
interviews. The analysis was carried out using Kvales’ three
levels of qualitative data analysis. Data were catalogued into
two main categories with several subcategories representing
significance of patients’ interaction with fellow patients.
Results: The qualitative analysis resulted in two main categories:
(i) Caring for fellow patients and (ii) Sharing illness
information with fellow patients. Each of the main categories
was elucidated through several subcategories.
Our findings clearly showed that interpersonal interaction
with fellow patients was of utmost importance when it
came to care and support and when they needed information
about their illness. Typically, the interpersonal
interaction was experienced as giving and referred to in
positive terms, but occasionally, the opposite was experienced
too. Less typically, the patients experienced
interaction with fellow patients as a burden and referred
to it in negative terms.
Conclusions: Patients’ interaction resembled care as well as
self-care. Patient–patient interaction was an important part
of the social support system during hospitalization.
Original languageDanish
Article numberdoi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2012.01072.x
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)608-15
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2012


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