Where is the Care in Caring: A Polemic on Medicalisation of Health and Humanitarianism
Currently in the caring professions, the human condition of facing uncertainty and danger is often overlooked in the quest for measurable outcomes that prove efficiency, taking agency out of the hands of the individuals being cared for. Traits that make an ‘ideal’ practitioner include compassion, advocacy skills, and the ability to engage with people in vulnerable situations, and to establish trusting, respectful relationships. Within a system of models, quotas, and specialties, these traits are easily hindered within health care and humanitarianism. The critical examination in this article in no way rejects the valuable elements in the fields of humanitarianism and health care. Rather, it discusses how care can be re-introduced. Uncertainty and danger are part of the human experience, and caring interventions need to take that into account. This article highlights the benefits of a collaborative relationship between the person in crisis and the practitioner, instead of a paternalistic relationship in which the practitioner is viewed as the ‘expert.’ With a caring perspective, the individual who is experiencing the crisis will retain ownership of and responsibility for their life, and not rely solely on external sources of wellbeing and comfort.
Copyright (c) 2019 Jordan Lindekens, Janaka Jayawickrama
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