In the Hands of Strangers: The Myth of Choice and Self-Determination for Chronic Pain Patients in Ontario
Dyson, Guadalupe Consuelo
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This study aimed to better understand and explain the lived experience of chronic pain patients within Ontario primary health care settings, their perceptions of self-determination, and the impact on their capacity to self-manage their condition and health-related quality of life. Through in-depth interviews with 23 chronic pain (CP) patients, this research establishes an emergent theme of alienation as a key sensitizing characteristic of the experience of the research participants. Self-Determination Theory suggests the management of pain is most effective when patients have a sense of agency and some measure of influence in their own health care. This view is consistent with the current provincial government policy of promoting Patient Centred Care (PCC). The results of this study suggest that CP respondents experience feelings of alienation in the management of their condition. This experience is evidence of a lack of self-determination created by the inability of the health care professionals to effectively put into practice PCC.