This study sought to determine whether there were differences in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients' satisfaction with inpatient nursing care on dedicated AIDS units compared with conventional, multidiagnosis medical units.
Interview data were collected from more than 600 consecutive AIDS admissions in 40 patient care units in 20 hospitals in 11 high AIDS incidence cities. Ten hospitals with dedicated AIDS units were matched with comparable hospitals treating AIDS patients on multidiagnosis medical units. AIDS patients' satisfaction with nursing care on dedicated AIDS units was compared with AIDS patients' satisfaction with care on scattered-bed units in the same hospital and with AIDS patients' satisfaction on scatteredbed units in different, matched hospitals without dedicated units. Interhospital differences that were not controlled by design were controlled statistically, as were differences in patient characteristics and illness severity.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients receiving care on dedicated AIDS units were significantly more satisfied with their nursing care. In hospitals with units of both types, dedicated AIDS units had a higher proportion of white patients, men, and homosexuals, whereas scattered-bed units had more minority patients and intravenous drug users. Controlling for these factors as well as for differences in illness severity and interhospital differences in patient satisfaction did not diminish the positive AIDS unit effect on patient satisfaction.
Dedicated AIDS units achieve higher levels of satisfaction among patients with AIDS than general medical units. There is no evidence that patients feel isolated or stigmatized on dedicated AIDS units compared with patients on general units, and many patients have a clear preference for dedicated units.