A systematic review of patient-reported dignity and dignified care during acute hospital admission

Abdul Ganiyu Fuseini, Lenore Ley, Helen Rawson, Bernice Redley, Debra Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To synthesize quantitative evidence on levels of dignity during acute hospital admission and identify barriers and facilitators to patients' dignity or dignified care from the perspective of hospitalized patients. The secondary aim was to examine the relationship between dignity and demographic, clinical and psychological characteristics of patients. Design: A systematic review based on the protocol of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guideline for reporting systematic reviews. Data Sources: Five electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, AgeLine) were searched in February 2021, followed by backward-forward searching using Web of Science and Scopus databases. Review Methods: Potentially eligible articles were scrutinized by two reviewers. Articles that met the eligibility criteria were appraised for quality using the Critical Appraisal Tool for Cross-Sectional Studies. Two reviewers extracted data for the review and resolved differences by consensus. Results: Out of 3052 potentially eligible studies, 25 met the inclusion criteria. Levels of dignity for hospitalized patients vary widely across geographic locations. Patients' dignity is upheld when healthcare professionals communicate effectively, maintain their privacy, and provide dignity therapy. Patients' perceptions of dignity were, in some studies, reported to be associated with demographic (e.g. age, marital status, gender, employment, educational status), clinical (e.g. hospitalization, functional impairment, physical symptoms) and psychological (e.g. depression, anxiety, demoralization, coping mechanisms) variables whilst other studies did not observe such associations. Conclusion: Patients in acute care settings experience mild to a severe loss of dignity across different geographic locations. Patients' dignity is influenced by several demographic, clinical and psychological characteristics of patients. Impact: The findings of the review support impetus for improvement in dignified care for hospitalized patients, addressing factors that facilitate or impede patients' dignity. Measures aimed at alleviating suffering, fostering functional independence and addressing patients' psychosocial needs can be used to promote dignity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3540-3558
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • acute care
  • acute hospital admission
  • autonomy
  • communication
  • dignified care
  • dignity
  • healthcare professionals
  • nursing
  • patients
  • privacy
  • systematic review

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