After encounters: revealing patients’ unseen work through their pathways to care

Rachel Humphris (School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK)
Hannah Bradby (Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)
Beatriz Padilla (Department of Sociology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Jenny Phillimore (Department of Sociology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Simon Pemberton (Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham UK)
Silja Samerski (Department of Geography, Keele University, Keele, UK)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Publication date: 6 May 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Research has long focused on the notion of access and the trajectory towards a healthcare encounter but has neglected what happens to patients after these initial encounters. This paper focuses attention on what happens after an initial healthcare encounter leading to a more nuanced understanding of how patients from a diverse range of backgrounds make sense of medical advice, how they mix this knowledge with other forms of information and how they make decisions about what to do next.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on 160 in-depth interviews across four European countries the paper problematizes the notion of access; expands the definition of “decision partners”; and reframes the medical encounter as a journey, where one encounter leads to and informs the next.

Findings

This approach reveals the significant unseen, unrecognised and unacknowledged work that patients undertake to solve their health concerns.

Originality/value

De-centring the professional from the healthcare encounter allows us to understand why patients take particular pathways to care and how resources might be more appropriately leveraged to support both patients and professionals along this journey.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

NORFACE GRANT 462-14-090, “Understanding the practice and developing the concept of welfare bricolage”.

Citation

Humphris, R., Bradby, H., Padilla, B., Phillimore, J., Pemberton, S. and Samerski, S. (2020), "After encounters: revealing patients’ unseen work through their pathways to care", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 173-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-07-2019-0066

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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