Little is known about women’s perceptions of care in TOP. Developing an understanding of how care is experienced is crucial to improvements in services.

Two hundred and eight women undergoing either a medical or surgical TOP reported their experience and care. Women reported on the aspects most stressful aspects, helped them feel more relaxed, were unexpected somehow, and provided information and staff care quality.

All information provided was viewed as helpful, with more excellent information required about the phase following termination. Care from the staff was rated positively, although areas for improvement in terms of the opportunity to ask questions and ensuring concerns were dealt with were identified. Caring and non-judgemental staff attitudes were fundamental in helping women feel as relaxed as possible in a potentially stressful situation.

Surgical termination schedules should avoid a long waiting time once the woman has been admitted. Adequate preparation is required for those having medical termination to have realistic expectations of what will happen, including the possibility of seeing the fetus. More attention to information about the time following termination, including possible emotional responses, is needed. The importance of positive staff attitudes in the quality of care is emphasized.