Relational healthcare highlights the crucial role played by relationships within care systems and as a contributor to health and recovery. Acute demand pressures create challenges where relational thinking and practice are needed including:
- The inter-relationships between public health and primary, secondary and social care
- How different professions and organisations collaborate to provide safe, efficient and high quality care
- The impact on care systems of funding and accountability relationships
- How the relational experience of giving and receiving care is protected within highly pressured systems
- How the role of relationships as both an aspect and determinant of health is given greater prominence in policy and practice.
Health and social care are major contributors to wellbeing. Where people cannot access healthcare, or care is poor, there are avoidable deaths and impaired quality of life. Conversely the prevention and treatment of disease, and the meeting of care needs, means that fewer parents see their children die, pain is relieved, dignity in the face of ageing or disability protected, and the ability to participate in society enhanced.
At our most vulnerable we are highly dependent on the quality of the relationships of those who care for us. They are the difference between restored wellbeing and comfort or, in the worst case, neglect, abuse and death.