Patients, Persons or Partners? Involving Those with Chronic Disease in Their Care
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Self-care management is essential for effective chronic disease management. Yet prevailing approaches of healthcare practitioners often undermine the efforts of those who require on-going medical attention for chronic conditions, emphasizing their status as patients, failing to consider their larger life experience as people, and most importantly, failing to consider them as people with the potential to be partners in their care. This article explores two approaches for professional-patient interaction in chronic disease management, namely, patient-centred care and empowering partnering, illuminating how professionals might better interact with chronically ill individuals who seek their care. The opportunities, challenges, theory and research evidence associated with each approach are explored. The advantages of moving beyond patient-centred care to the empowering partnering approach are elaborated. For people with chronic disease, having the opportunity to engage in the social construction of their own health as a resource for everyday living, the opportunity to experience interdependence rather than dependence/independence throughout on-going healthcare, and the opportunity to optimize their potential for self-care management of chronic disease are important justifications for being involved in an empowering partnering approach to their chronic disease management.