Table of Contents
ISRN Nursing
Volume 2012, Article ID 320145, 9 pages
Research Article

Patients' and Caregivers' Attributes in a Meaningful Care Encounter: Similarities and Notable Differences

School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, P.O. Box 325, 631 05 Eskilstuna, Sweden

Received 14 March 2012; Accepted 3 April 2012

Academic Editors: N. Jarrett, V. Lohne, and M. Miyashita

Copyright © 2012 Ingrid Snellman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In today's healthcare system, there is an imbalance between what patients expect of caregivers' care and their perception of the care they get. How is it possible to reduce this imbalance? The aim of this paper was to describe attributes associated with meaningful encounters in the Swedish healthcare system based on patients' and caregivers' written narratives and to note the differences and similarities between the attributes identified by the two groups. This paper is a qualitative descriptive study. The analysis was guided by qualitative content analyses. Based on patients' narratives, attributes associated with a meaningful encounter fell into four categories: the kind-hearted caregiver, the thoughtful caregiver, the mutually oriented caregiver, and the helpful caregiver. Based on caregivers' narratives, the attributes were categorized as being humane, caring through physical contact, caring by nurturing communication, joy and laughter in care, and a sense of mutuality. The results show that there are both similarities and differences in patients' and caregivers' opinions about the attributes of a meaningful encounter. Knowing more about the attributes associated with meaningful encounters makes it possible for caregivers to individualize care for patients and makes it easier to help and support patients in what they most need support with.