“Both carers and patients need to have the courage to challenge established patterns and power structures,” says Elisabeth, who will be defending her thesis at Linnaeus University.
Previous research has described factors that can pose a challenge when it comes to taking a patient-centred approach. These can include a strict hierarchical structure, competition for resources and space, and the patient’s vulnerability. These factors affect the patient’s opportunities for involvement in his or her own care to varying degrees.
In order to obtain knowledge about how the role of the patient is strengthened in encounters with healthcare, Elisabeth focuses in her thesis on the importance of a health sciences patient perspective and how this can be maintained and developed within hospital care.
Rounds have been described in previous research and in literature as being weighed down by tradition and hierarchical, with little scope for patients to have their say. Elisabeth’s research has largely been carried out in cooperation with a nursing ward for older patients. At the ward in question, an attempt was made to develop rounds into a team meeting which the patient was invited to attend.
“I’ve interviewed patients and nurses who took part in these team meetings attended by patients,” she continues. “The results show that not only was the team meeting an opportunity for planning care, it can also be an emotional meeting at which existential dimensions need to be included. The patients need guidance from the nurse before, during and after the team meeting.
“When the patients don’t receive guidance, they become more vulnerable. This is also reinforced by tradition-bound structures in care and at team meetings. The consequence is that the patient perspective is lost in care and when care is developed.”
Her thesis concludes with proposals for continued research, such as intervention studies in which older patients are involved and continued research into how care can be developed and valued based on its (inter-)human dimensions.