Adult Patients' Experiences of Nursing Care Dependence

Michela Piredda, Maria Matarese, Chiara Mastroianni, Daniela D'Angelo, Marilyn J. Hammer, Maria Grazia De Marinis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Care dependence can be associated with suffering and humiliation. Nurses' awareness of patients' perception of care dependence is crucial to enable them in helping the dependent persons. This study aimed to describe adult patients' experience of nursing care dependence. Method: A metasynthesis was conducted to integrate qualitative findings from 18 studies published through December 2014 on adult patients' experiences of care dependency. Procedures included the Johanna Briggs Institute approach for data extraction, quality appraisal, and integration of findings. Findings: The experience of dependence revealed the concept of the embodied person, particularly in relation to care of the physical body. The relationship between the individual and nurses within the context of care had a major impact for dependent patients. When the care relation was perceived as positive, the experience led to the development of the person in finding new balances in life, but when it was perceived as negative, it increased patient' suffering. Conclusions: Care dependence is manifested mostly as bodily dependence and is consistent with its relational nature. The nurse-patient relationship is important to the dependent patients' experience. Clinical Relevance: A greater understanding of patients' experiences of dependence is crucial to enable nurses in improving care and decreasing patient suffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-406
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Adult
  • Metasynthesis
  • Nursing care dependency
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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