Programme no. 207-WS
Patient Empowerment
Medical practice and its relation to existential and religious dimensions.
Eivind Meland*1, Helen Brandstorp*2, Lars Englund*3, Göran Waller*4
1Dept Global Publ Health and Prim Care,University of Bergen,Bergen,Norway, 2UiT Arctic University of Norway,Tromsø,Norway, 3Swedish Transport Agency,Falun,Sweden, 4Umeå University,Umeå,Sweden
* = Presenting author
Objectives: To discuss and share experiences of existential and religious dimensions in relation to health in order to promote partnership and attachment with our patients in primary care.
Background: There is a close connection between religious practices, conceptions of health and practices of healing as the history of religion demonstrates. To our knowledge, no society or major outlook of life fail to incorporate health-beliefs and healing practices in its sphere, modern western philosophy and science being no exception. However, awareness of religious and existential dimensions is sparsely reflected in current medical practice, where our present, historically situated beliefs formed mainly by natural and psychological sciences predominate.

Nevertheless, experiences of the “Holy” as a sense of “tremendum et fascinosum” (awe and fear) are common according to research in the field. These experiences are profoundly human as is the connection to health and healing. Can these insights be transformed and utilised promoting partnership with our patients in primary care?

Content: Firstly, we will discuss overdiagnosis and overtreatment in relation to medical history and the increasing existential neglect in modern medicine. Secondly, an outline of the “history of health” will be given starting in the 18th century to present ideas of health. The evolution of the concept of health will give rise to considerations if modern technology and modern concepts of health are able to give existential security and confidence. Thirdly we will illustrate our common belonging to nature and the obligation of “care for mother earth” illustrated with sami spirituality. Finally and mainly, the workshop will discuss the relevance of existential and religious dimensions in medical practice and if health can be promoted more sustainably if we accept a common human need for existential and religious confidence.
Method: The workshop will be interactive with room for discussion throughout the entire program. Case vignettes will be presented and discussed.
Other considerations: No preregistration