Beyond the drive to satisfy needs: in the context of health care [Book Review]

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):141-149 (2013)
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In the context of health care the aim of the article is to bring another meaning to the concept “need” that goes beyond the human activity; the drive to satisfy needs. Another meaning incorporates an ethical and existential nature of life phenomena. An example from empirical research on living with a chronic disease as seen from the patient’s point of view provides the basis for arguing another meaning of the concept “need”. The meanings and nuances in the life phenomena of hope, doubt and life courage are exemplified in qualitative interviews with chronic sufferers. A combination of empirical research and Danish life philosophy. Research has shown that the interaction between the professional health care provider and the patient and family may lead to a more or less unconscious and inappropriate administration of power. Research also indicates that by overlooking or ignoring the existential qualities in human life and suffering, the professional health care provider may deprive the patient and family of their room for action. To add a deeper understanding of the existential meaning of being a person with an illness, the article shows the different human dimensions concerning life phenomena and needs. Developing sensitive, situation-specific attention offers a response to the challenge faced by health care providers in collaboration with the patient: How can we open our eyes to the most significant features of the situation which arise on the onset of illness



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