The aim of this empirically grounded philosophical paper is to explore the notion of holistic care with the intention to expand it into a notion of ecological care and in such a way revisit the original ideas of caring science. The philosophical analysis, driven by lifeworld theory and especially Merleau-Ponty's philosophy, is firmly rooted in contemporary clinical care. We used interview data from patients in a study at an anthroposophic clinic in Sweden, which forms part of an ecological community with, for example, ecological agriculture. The empirical study is analysed according to reflective lifeworld research. Starting from the fact that illness can be defined as a loss of homelikeness in the body and in the familiar world, our findings illustrate how ecological care helps the patient to once again find one's place in a world that is characterized by interconnectedness. The task of ecological care is thus not only to see the patient within a world of relationships but to help the patient find his/her place again, to understand himself/herself and the world anew. Ecological care is not only about fighting an illness, but also recognizes a patient from inside a world that s/he is affected by and affects, that s/he is understood and understands from. Such care tries to restore this connection by making possible the rhythmical movement as well as the space in-between activity and rest, between being cared for and actively involving oneself in one's recovery and between closing oneself off from the world and once again going out into it.
Cites: Med Health Care Philos. 2016 Jun;19(2):265-7326833466