Lifeworld-led healthcare is more than patient-led care: an existential view of well-being


In this paper we offer an appreciation and critique of patient-led care as expressed in current policy and practice. We argue that current patient-led approaches hinder a focus on a deeper understanding of what patient-led care could be. Our critique focuses on how the consumerist/citizenship emphasis in current patient-led care obscures attention from a more fundamental challenge to conceptualise an alternative philosophically informed framework from where care can be led. We thus present an alternative interpretation of patient-led care that we call ‘lifeworld-led care’, and argue that such lifeworld-led care is more than the general understanding of patient-led care. Although the philosophical roots of our alternative conceptualisation are not new, we believe that it is timely to re-consider some of the implications of these perspectives within current discourses of patient-centred policies and practice. The conceptualisation of lifeworld-led care that we develop includes an articulation of three dimensions: a philosophy of the person, a view of well-being and not just illness, and a philosophy of care that is consistent with this. We conclude that the existential view of well-being that we offer is pivotal to lifeworld-led care in that it provides a direction for care and practice that is intrinsically and positively health focused in its broadest and most substantial sense.

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Correspondence to Karin Dahlberg.

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Dahlberg, K., Todres, L. & Galvin, K. Lifeworld-led healthcare is more than patient-led care: an existential view of well-being. Med Health Care and Philos 12, 265–271 (2009).

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  • Lifeworld
  • Lifeworld-led care
  • Phenomenology
  • Patient-centred care
  • Vitality
  • Peace
  • Movement
  • Well-being