Caring assessment in the Swedish ambulance services relieves suffering and enables safe decisions.

Research paper by Birgitta B Wireklint Sundström, Karin K Dahlberg

Indexed on: 15 Jun '11Published on: 15 Jun '11Published in: International Emergency Nursing


This study has a health care science approach and explores pre-hospital emergency care with emphasis on assessment. Health care science is focused on the patient with the general aim to describe care that strengthens and supports health. Assessment in the ambulance services has not been explored earlier from this perspective, despite the emphasis on 'coming close' to the acute suffering patient. The aim of the study is to describe and analyse assessment in caring situations. Data was collected by participant observations. The major findings point out the importance of professional carers' recognition of the patient's lifeworld as an essential part of assessment. The carers' openness to the situation and to the patient's suffering and needs vary from being of minor interest to complete focus of the assessment. It seems that assessments that focus solely on a patient's medical condition can be an obstacle to a full understanding of the individual, and thereby the illness per se. A caring assessment based on an encounter and a dialogue between patient and carer, characterised by inviting the patient to participate, adds further dimensions to the objective data. Therefore, the inclusion of the patient perspective relieves suffering and enables more safe decisions.