Saturday, July 11, 2009

Health care's missing care

Health care's missing care (Globe & Mail Essay)

Caregiving is a lost art, says Arthur Kleinman –let's restore humanities to the same level as diagnosis and treatment

Arthur Kleinman

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Most physicians, apart from primary-care providers, do little in the way of hands-on caregiving. Hospice doctors are caregivers; physicians who routinely deal with the end of life, such as oncologists and cardiologists and nephrologists and gerontologists, are surrounded by caregiving opportunities, yet few take part in its nitty-gritty – leaving the practical assistance and emotional tasks to nurses, social workers and the patient and his or her network of support.

In medical school, the curriculum in both basic science and the clinical-apprenticeship years places the greatest emphasis on understanding disease processes and high-technology treatments. The illness experience gets less and less pedagogic attention, as the student progresses from classroom to inpatient ward and clinic.

In the broader system of health care, students can all too readily discern that medicine largely leaves caregiving to others. Those others include nurses, whose professional science has made caregiving a central element of knowledge production and training."

Your thoughts?

Books on Doctors as Patients and a few on the Doctor-Patient Relationship