Patients’ experience of being badly treated in the ambulance service

Patients’ experience of being badly treated in the ambulance service

Marie Ahlenius

Leg Sjuksköterska, Specialistsjuksköterska Ambulanssjukvård

The Swedish healthcare system aims to provide the best care possible, thus fulfilling legal and programme requirements despite the need for reducing costs. This study’s aim has been to acquire deeper understanding of the factors underlying patients’ experience of inappropriate treatment and care or personnel’s problematical attitudes during their contact with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) (Ambulance Services). This study used a care science perspective. It applied qualitative content analysis, analyzing data for meaning. Data comprised 32 deviation reports or complaints from patients in Stockholm, Sweden in 2014.

Results: Patients at the limit of their self-help experienced acute need for speedy transfer to hospital. Lack of recognition for their suffering caused them to feel badly treated by ambulance personnel.


Patients in this study felt objectified and not treated as individual human beings, i.e. they “suffered from care”. Ambulance personnel should avoid patient objectification by establishing an engaged relationship with attentiveness and committal, thus supporting patients’ health processes. The aim of this study has been to draw attention to patients’ experiences of the healthcare they received, in order to be able to improve and maintain healthcare standards, thus guaranteeing continued quality of care. This may be achieved by increasing the awareness of personnel concerning how their attitudes and treatment can influence patient well-being. Information, education and follow-up lead to increased awareness in personnel. The intended result of personnel’s increased awareness is greater well-being and feelings of security for patients.