Promoting wellbeing? Evaluation of a therapeutic care service

Cavaye, Joyce (2009). Promoting wellbeing? Evaluation of a therapeutic care service. In: ISA Sociology of Health Conference, Health for All: Opportunities and Challenges Conference, 21-23 Sep 2009, Jaipur, India.


As the popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) grows, individuals are incorporating more CAM therapies into their conventional care. Therapeutic care is a CAM therapy known primarily for it use in relaxation but whether it may also benefit persons with cancer and other long term conditions is subject to debate (Field 1998, Corbin 2005). This paper draws on an evaluation of the Therapeutic Care (TC) service provided by the British Red Cross and delivered by community volunteers. This small study adopted a qualitative grounded methodology to explore the experiences and perceptions of vulnerable people who used the service in conjunction with conventional health interventions. Over a four month period in early 2009, data was gathered by means of in-depth unstructured interviews with service users. Service managers were interviewed individually and their data added to that already obtained. Data analysis was guided by the principles and process of ground theory. The iterative approach of constantly comparing data enabled the emergence and identification of common themes and core categories. Findings show that after receiving the service individuals experienced a wide range of benefits and an increased sense of wellbeing and self-worth. They perceived the TC service as being complimentary rather than an alternative to conventional healthcare.

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