Patients' experience of privacy and dignity. Part 1: A literature review

J Whitehead, Herman Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the literature on patients' privacy and dignity and concludes that interest in the topic goes back to psychiatric patients in the 1960s, with the 1990s seeing a shift to all hospitals. A number of databases were used to obtain information for the literature review. Findings revealed United Kingdom (UK) government policies designed to raise the profile of patients' privacy and dignity. UK research on patients' privacy/dignity is limited, although there is universal interest. While a variety of methodologies have been used in previous research, and there is consistency in findings, more research is indicated. Previous research spanned topics such as elderly patients, medical and surgical patients, palliative care, rehabilitative settings and child-bearing women. A conceptual framework and definitions of privacy and dignity were examined. Although healthcare professionals and patients attach importance to patients' privacy, there is insufficient understanding of the problem. Limitations of previous research have been discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-385
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2008


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