The Italian welfare system has been identified as a “familistic” system since it is the family that is mainly responsible for taking care of its members in times of fragility. This situation seems to be a problem, not only because of the financial, social and psycho-social costs borne by families, but also because care work is provided by the various caregivers with an insufficient competence. As such, public services should foster family participation in their care-assistance plan, enhance their competences, and sustain them at an emotional level. This approach widens the notions of the “expert patient”: it is the family which should become competent and involved as much as possible in the care processes. One way to achieve this aim is by implementing a programme of Family Learning for people with long term conditions. This has been the object of an innovative feasibility study conducted in 2008 in a Region of central Italy. This study sought to verify whether families are actually ready to take on the self-management of long-term conditions and which surrounding conditions are necessary to manage them.
From the “expert patient” to “expert family”: a feasibility study on family learning for people with long-term conditions in Italy / Vicarelli, Maria Giovanna; Bronzini, Micol. - In: HEALTH SOCIOLOGY REVIEW. - ISSN 1446-1242. - 18:(2009), pp. 182-193.