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The aim of this study was to explore dignity in care from patients' perspectives in Taiwan.Dignity is a core element of nursing care. In nurses' clinical practice, maintaining the dignity of patients is an important issue because a lack of dignity in care can affect the health and recovery of patients. In Western countries, patient dignity has been well researched, but only one study has examined this topic in an Asian country.Descriptive qualitative methods were used in this study.Interviews were conducted with 40 patients purposively sampled at a teaching hospital in eastern Taiwan from May-August 2009. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed verbatim, and data in transcripts were coded and analysed by content analysis.The major findings revealed that many hospitalised patients were satisfied with the maintenance of their dignity. Six themes that contribute to the preservation of their dignity were identified: sense of control and autonomy, being respected as a person, avoidance of body exposure, caring from the nursing staff, confidentiality of disease information and prompt response to needs.The findings can help nurses better understand dignity in care because it is described from the patient viewpoint.By identifying the most important factors from patients' perspectives that contribute to dignity, nursing interventions in clinical practice can be further developed and improved.