Patient Patients? : Achieving Patient Empowerment through active participation, increased knowledge and organisation

Sammanfattning: This study examines patient empowerment in two local diabetes branch organisations in Sweden. In particular, the study focuses on the organisations’ membership, participation and influence on external actors. The overall aim of this thesis is to explore patient empowerment in order to discern what influence patient organisations and individual members can have and how they use it. This study is based on both quantitative and qualitative empirical data. Interviews with active members from two local diabetes organisations were conducted and a survey was carried out to identify the members’ thoughts and feelings about their membership, motivations, participation and influence, as well as to examine their local organisation, its work and influence. The findings form an overall picture of how members experience their organisation, memberships and empowerment. Characteristics of the two local patient branch organisations were identified and the leaders were found to be intensely dedicated people. The interviews, survey and participant observations revealed the members’ opinions about their organisation, their reasons for joining, their involvement, participation and influence, as well as their understanding of the local organisation and the Swedish Diabetic Association (SDA) and their possibility to empower them. Without organisations, members felt that they could not have a significant influence on external actors and events.

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