In recent decades, consumers and providers have become increasingly frustrated with the health care system. Concerns with the “bottom line” have replaced concerns about patients and providers. In response, new models of patient-centered care being developed are encouraging participatory relationships. Patients are empowered when their values, preferences, and needs become the center of health care decisions. In this article, I illustrate how empowerment has been translated into health care settings. The data come from a qualitative study of 14 feminist women's health centers, which were established in the 1970s and had more than 20 years experience providing community services. I discuss three primary strategies they used for empowering patients: (1) education and information to increase knowledge and demystify medical procedures, (2) breaking down institutional barriers between providers and clients, and (3) providing an environment of dignity and respect. These strategies are particularly well-suited for community-based health care. This study also contributes to the dialogue on defining “quality” of care and strategies for rethinking the dominant, medical model of health care delivery in this country.
Thomas, J. (2000), "Incorporating empowerment into models of care: Strategies from feminist women's health centers", Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (Ed.) Health Care Providers, Institutions, and Patients: Changing Patterns of Care Provision and Care Delivery (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 139-152. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0275-4959(00)80043-5Download as .RIS
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