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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1998 Feb;77(2):210-7.

Quality of care in abortion services in Finland.

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Stakes (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health), Health Services Research Unit, Helsinki, Finland.



The aim of this study was to describe the quality of abortion services and women's experiences with the care they had received during their abortion.


A population-based postal survey of 3000 randomly selected 18-44-year old Finnish women in 1994. The response rate was 74% (n=2189). The following were used as indicators of quality of services: referral problems, loss of follow up, adequacy of counseling, and satisfaction with treatment.


Fifteen percent (n=320) of the respondents had experienced at least one abortion. After adjusting for age, women who had an abortion were more likely to come from the lower social class, to be divorced, widowed, or in a nonmarital relationship, and to have had previous pregnancies. Fifty-two percent reported not using any contraceptive method when getting pregnant. Altogether 6% reported referral problems and 8% did not have post-abortion follow-up. Twenty-five percent would have preferred more discussion with a physician or a nurse before the abortion and 30% after it. Psychological effects of abortion was the most often mentioned subject upon which they needed discussion. The need for discussion was not influenced by the length of time lapsed since the abortion. The satisfaction with treatment increased from 69% (abortion >10 years ago) to 82% (abortion <5 years ago). Dissatisfaction was related to need for more discussion and the abortion having been performed in a central hospital.


The overall quality of abortion care was good but there is still a need for improvement, especially in the communication and human part of the care.

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