To examine whether patient classification carried out in accordance with the Oulu Patient Classification (OPC) method can measure the patient's caring needs in a reliable manner as seen from the patient's perspective.Background
On the basis of earlier research it can be established that there are differences between nurses' and patients' assessments of patients' caring needs. Research on patients' assessments of perceived caring needs and the care they receive in connection with patient classification does not seem to have interested researchers in caring science.Methods
The reliability from the patient's perspective is gauged by comparing the patient's perceived caring needs with the nurse's patient classification during a 24-h bed-day. Data was collected during a semi-structured interview with a total of 73 patients. Documentary analysis was carried out on the basis of patient classifications by 30 ward nurses.Findings
On the basis of the degree of correspondence between nursing care intensity experienced by the patients and the nurses' patient classifications it was decided whether the patients' caring needs had been met. The results indicate, however, that patient classification as a gauging method has a built-in reductive function regarding the patient's need for care and nursing care intensity.Conclusions
Nevertheless the OPC offers possibilities from a patient perspective of providing an overall picture of the patient's nursing care intensity and can therefore serve as a reliable basis for decisions concerning staff planning.