Patients' awareness of their rights in relation to health care.
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This study was conducted at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, the aim of the study was to assess whether patients are aware of their rights and whether this awareness does influence the type of health care given to patients. Literature reviewed from other countries had shown that patients who are not aware of their rights are excluded from participating in their own care and as a result patients are maltreated and dehumanized. Literature also revealed the rights patients are supposed to be aware of and how lack of such awareness contributes to maltreatment and dehumanisation of clients by health professionals. The study was descriptive in nature. Data were collected in December 1985 from fifty(50) respondents who had been purposely selected from those admitted to UTH in medical and surgical, male and female wards. Subjects selected had stayed in the ward for 48 hours or more and were not below the age of 15 years. The instrument used for data collection was a self devised interview schedule. It was chosen as the most appropriate tool for collecting data from subjects with diversified educational background and tribes, since the country as a whole has a high rate of semi-literate and illiterate nationals. Data collected were analyzed manually. Findings of the study revealed that patients are not given enough information concerning different procedures and treatment which they are subjected to. The patients' accounts of their experiences in hospital as revealed by the study are similar to those encountered by patients in other countries.