Sickness meaning of Patient – Illness is a subjective evaluation by an individual that something was wrong with him “ as an individual” and usually first noted in terms of a reduced ability to perform roles in his normal day-to-day routine. Reacting to the onset of illness, the individual starts assuming a different social role involving the right to be excused from normal duties and to depend upon others for care during the period of illness. This is termed as the “sick role”.
the ‘sick role’, the individual legitimizes the temporary non-performance as a sick member and minimizes the disruption in the role performance of other members in a social circle (e.g. family, place of work etc.).
Therefore, by viewing the response to illness as a series of shapes, an individual’s definition of illness or patterns of response can be identified in five stages which are:
- a symptom expertise
- assumption of sick role
- medical care contact
- dependent-patient role,
- recovery and rehabilitation.
SEE ALSO : Pain and theory of pain transmission
In most cases, the individual does not or has little knowledge about the disease afflicted but responds to illness involving the above stages mentioned. In addition to the above, it may be relevant to mention here that a risk factor to illness is acharacteristic pertaining to individuals or groups that is associated with an enhanced likelihood of associate unwanted outcome like unhealthiness or death. The above mentioned conditions of man’s social life are attributable as risk factors to illness. These risk factors are also associated with several outcomes. Few of these may be enumerated below:
- Environmental: pertain to individual’s surroundings, e.g. poor sanitation, drought, lack of water, lack of access to clean water, type of housing structure.
- Biological: these factors are intrinsic to the individual, e.g. age, malnutrition, infections, decreased immunity, developmental abnormalities, maternal height.
- Socio-economic: income, societal status of women, education, employment, poverty status, illiteracy, large families, working mothers.
- Behavioural: these factors are primarily determined by cultural and/or religious beliefs like:
– Male preference
– Local perception of the problem
– Local health practices
– Local health institutions
– Early marriage Traditions and rituals
- Health Care Related:
– Inaccessible health services
– Improper outreach programmes
– Poor quality of health care
Sickness meaning of Patient – Sickness as Viewed by the Health Professionals
The physician is more likely to view sickness episode in terms of disease, while the individual suffering from illness is labeled as the ‘patient’. He generally does not view the disease as a human suffering. His perspective is limited ‘organic malfunctioning;’ only. Thereby, this discrepant approach of the doctor becomes the cause of discord between his patient and himself. This alienates him from the individual suffering from illness as he trend to treat the disease in isolation rather than treat an ailing individual within his social, economic and cultural setting. This view of defining the disease only within the narrow perspective or clinical paradigm thus ignoring the root causes embedded within human ecology was responsible for the promotion of the curative care rather than the prevention of diseases and promotion of health strategy of within the health care delivery system that is exiting today.
With the field of modern medicine becoming more popular, doctors concentrated only those medicines. The suffering and diseases of poverty related to the common masses lost their importance. While curative services gained control, preventive and promotive levels of health care receded at the back with such an approach.