autonomy and dependency

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Temporary dependsence on the GP is usually not allowed to become permanent by actively encouraging the patient to become independent again, giving up the sick role after an apropriate interval.

The doctor should avoid follow-up consultations or home visits as a routine and should agree to these only when there unusual circumstances. The patient needs to be told under what circumstances a follow-up is needed, such as if a chest infection is getting worse despite antibiotics or a symptom occurs which does not fit the current diagnosis.

The doctor's desire to be loved and indispensible clashes head on with the patient's autonomy. Unnecessary care imposed by the doctor makes the patient feel helpless and vulnerable and creates dependency.

Last reviewed 01/2018