Is patient-centred care a good thing?
The problem: Rehabilitation professionals recognize the need to adopt a social as well as a medical model of disability, but the full implications of a social orientation towards disability are less easily accepted. If the physical environment can both produce and alleviate disability, so also can the social environment. If disablement is not to be seen as the problem of one individual then problems in rehabilitation must be ‘owned’ not solely by a single patient but also by other people implicated in a situation. It follows that ‘patient-centred care’, where a professional directs assessments and interventions towards one person, has shortcomings in rehabilitation. Theoretical considerations: A human systems model, shifting the focus of rehabilitation towards relationships, enables rehabilitation problems to be seen as provisional and context-dependent; the relational context of problems is clarified, and the positive and negative effects of professional power are more apparent. Clinical implications: Rehabilitation practitioners using a systemic approach would no longer view ‘carers’ and other significant individuals as mere bystanders but would integrate them within rehabilitation’s ethical and therapeutic system. Professionals would more readily recognize their roles within such a system, and would be better positioned to manage their negative as well as their positive effects. (