‘Care’ in Health Care



Welcome to the Making Sense Of: ‘Care’ in Health Care interdisciplinary research and publications home page. The term Health Care denotes “the treatment and management of illness and the preservation of health through services offered by medical, dental, nursing and allied health profession” (Wikipedia, January 2009). The organization of such services constitutes the health care system of a given society. ‘Health Care’ is thus an umbrella term that subsumes policies, institutions, and a comprehensive work force of professions and occupations, both ‘hands on’ and administrative. Importantly, ‘Health Care’ also carries connotations of attitudes, ideologies, cultural values and community expectations that are implicated, not always harmoniously, in the dynamics of modern health care systems. While health care systems are concerned with the provision of services, the broad social domain of health care practices involves, equally significantly, the consumption of such service and the beliefs and activities of the consumers (or ‘clients’, a more popular term recently). ‘Health Care’ is thus everyone’s concern. We all care about health care.

This inter- and multi-disciplinary project seeks to address the meanings, the role and the realities of the term ‘Care’ as used in conjunction with practices that relate to health and illness matters. The questions that are relevant to such a project concern ideology as much as they do policies and actions. As such, they also touch on the correspondence, or lack thereof, between desirable (‘caring’) models of practice and actual activities at the coal-face of work in the health systems of contemporary societies.


The project will assess and explore a number of core themes:

  • Analysing ‘Care’ – origins and cultural significance of the term
  • Tracing the history of ‘Care’ in ‘Health Care’
  • ‘Care’ as ideology and/or theory
  • ‘Care’ and the ‘health care professions’
  • ‘Care’ in medicine, nursing and the allied professions
  • Who cares?
  • The objects of care for managers and administrators in Health Care
  • Barriers in the way of ‘care’
  • Failures in ‘the duty of care’ under modern conditions
  • Exercising ‘care’ and being ‘caring’; can both be done simultaneously?
  • Care in the ‘community’
  • Professionalism and care
  • What price compassion?

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.