This study explores how cancer patients experience the meaning of positive sensory impressions in the hospital environment such as architecture, decoration and the interior. Data were obtained at a general hospital in Denmark by interviewing six cancer patients at two different wards. The analysis process was guided by the hermeneutical–phenomenological theory of interpretation as presented by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Two main themes were identified: to preserve identity and positive thoughts and feelings. The participants experienced that positive sensory impressions in the hospital environment had a significant impact on their mood, generating positive thoughts and feelings. A view to nature also helped them to forget their negative thoughts for a while. The possibility of having a view helped some cancer patients to connect with good memories and personal life stories that enabled them to recall some of their feelings of identity. This paper adds knowledge about how cancer patients experience sensory impressions in the hospital environment. An environment that provides homeliness and offers a view to nature seems to help some patients to preserve their identity. Furthermore, positive sensory impressions and the opportunity for recreation through environmental facilities strengthen the patient’s positive thoughts and feelings.
European Journal of Cancer Care, 2013, Vol 22, Issue 1, p. 117-24
cancer patients; hospital environment; positive sensory impressions; qualitative interview study; supportive care