Understanding beneficial self-management support and the meaning of user involvement in lifestyle interventions: a qualitative study from the perspective of healthcare professionals
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSalemonsen, E., Førland, G., Hansen, B. S. & Holm, A. L. (2020). Understanding beneficial self-management support and the meaning of user involvement in lifestyle interventions: a qualitative study from the perspective of healthcare professionals. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-4951-y https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-4951-y
Background In light of the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults and the subsequent stigmatization and health consequences, there is a need to develop effective interventions to support lifestyle change. The literature supports the key role of healthcare professionals (HPs) in facilitating self-management through lifestyle interventions for those with chronic conditions. However, there is a lack of knowledge about how HPs practice self-management support (SMS) and user involvement for persons afflicted by overweight or obesity in lifestyle interventions in primary care Healthy Life Centres (HLC). The aim of this study was to explore how HPs provide SMS and what user involvement implies for HPs in HLCs. Methods An interpretative exploratory design, using qualitative thematic analysis of data from two focus group interviews with ten HPs from eight different HLCs, was conducted. Results The analysis resulted in one overall theme; A partnership based on ethical awareness, non-judgemental attitude, dialogue and shared responsibility, comprising four interrelated themes: 1) Supporting self-efficacy, self-worth and dignity through an attitude of respect, acknowledgement and generosity, 2) Promoting self-belief and self-perceived health, 3) Collaborating and sharing responsibility, and 4) Being flexible, adjusting and sharing time. Conclusion HPs in HLCs see service users as equal partners in a collaboration based on shared responsibility, acknowledgement and generosity. In order to help, their practice involves a heightened level of ethical awareness, including a non-judgemental attitude and dialogue. HPs in HLCs have something to teach us about ethical acting and helping persons who are struggling with overweight or obesity to change their lifestyle and regain dignity. They seem to see the service users’ existential needs and have learned the art of meeting the other in her/his most vulnerable situation i.e., seeking help for a “wrong lifestyle”. It may be time to highlight the need for SMS and user involvement to focus on shared responsibility in partnership rather than personal responsibility. More research is required to explore the conditions for such practice.