Beröringens fenomenologi i vårdsammanhang
Sammanfattning: This thesis explores the phenomenon of touch and describes its meaning in the healthcare context. Caring science theory based on a lifeworld approach forms the theoretical perspective of the dissertation and consequently the patient perspective is guiding the research. The ontological, epistemological and methodological framework of the thesis is phenomenology.The overall aim was to describe the phenomenon of touch in the healthcare context. Touch showed to be a phenomenon with several diverse aspects being differentially explicit in different contexts. Four empirical studies were therefore conducted in different contexts. Further, a synthesis of the empirical results was carried out to show the invariant meanings and structure of the phenomenon. Furthermore, a philosophical illumination of the results was carried out to further deepen and expand the understanding of touch related to healthcare. The phenomenon of touch is described as a complex caring movement, as an interplay between lived bodies forming a foundation to understand health, suffering, well-being, and care. The results show how touch has the power to both alleviate the patients’ suffering and to experience joy and deep connectedness, as well as how touch can frighten and cause or worsen suffering. In order to take advantage of the caring potential, the person who touches must be fully present in all senses of the word. Caring touch of different kinds can never be reduced to a “method”. It is much more than a mechanical and static act or a treatment. Moreover, touch that is objectifying may be understood as an obstacle or detrimental for the caring relationship and well-being since it lacks the necessary pliable interpersonal room. Such touch creates distance and alienation rather than closeness, trust and togetherness. If the potential of touch for caring is to be used and the threat of non-caring warded off, then the intentionality of touch must be balanced visavi the existential vulnerability of the individual. Therefore carers need to be open and attentive to the lifeworld of the patients to enhance their health-processes and avoid hurting them.
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