Objectives To identify which patient characteristics are associated with silence towards the healthcare system after experiences of abusive or ethically wrongful transgressive behaviour by healthcare staff.
Design Cross-sectional questionnaire study using the Transgressions of Ethical Principles in Health Care Questionnaire.
Setting A women's clinic in the south of Sweden.
Participants Selection criteria were: consecutive female patients coming for an outpatient appointment, ≥18-year-old, with the ability to speak and understand the Swedish language, and a known address.
Questionnaires were answered by 534 women (60%) who had visited the clinic, of which 293 were included in the present study sample.
Primary outcome measure How many times the respondent remained silent towards the healthcare system relative to the number of times the respondent spoke up.
Results Associations were found between patients’ silence towards the healthcare system and young age as well as lower self-rated knowledge of patient rights. Both variables showed independent effects on patients’ silence in a multivariate model. No associations were found with social status, country of birth, health or other abuse.
Conclusions The results offer opportunities for designing interventions to stimulate patients to speak up and open up the clinical climate, for which the responsibility lies in the hands of staff; but more research is needed.
BMJ Publishing Group: BMJ Open / BMJ Journals , 2012. Vol. 2, no 6
Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council|2009-2380|Nordic Council of Ministers||