Research in Health and Welfare

The research at the school concerns health and welfare, specifically within the area where these fields of knowledge and practice overlap in health related aspects of welfare and welfare related aspects of health. Our research profile is interdisciplinary and focused on three themes: equity and access, professional knowledge and development, and creativity and innovation in the service sector.

Equality and participation

Equal access to health and welfare services is a question of rights and democracy. In many cases, our studies of both health and welfare explore how different kinds of expert systems, institutions and professionals, work, and how they can provide help and support to service users/clients/patients. Knowledge about the specific situation of different groups is a key to equal access to health and welfare services. Service user/client/patient participation and possibilities to develop participation is one of our central research areas. Participation can be defined as the opportunity to influence one’s life situation and as a right in a democratic and equal society. It can also be defined as a person’s engagement in different life situations. The old expert model is increasingly transformed to a situation where the participant (citizen, service user, patient, client, co-worker) becomes the central agent. The concepts of participation, control, autonomy, creation of meaning and competence become central and are studied within individual, group, organisational and societal perspectives.

Research for value and benefit

Our research departs from the professional need of knowledge and relevance for practice. The different projects contribute to the development of a knowledge base for practitioners within the health sector, social services and other care and welfare institutions. Research questions also emerge through dialogues with the surrounding society locally, regionally and nationally. Several projects focus on support for assessment and decision-making and a more evidence-oriented field of practice. Others aim at a deeper understanding of the working conditions of professionals, and at the realisation of the goals and values central to health and welfare. Another area focuses on knowledge about how participants’ own resources and inner motivation can be enabled, and on the integration of such knowledge into professional roles.

Cooperation

Societal development combined with changes in the population structure, new life patterns, factors of (ill)health and technical developments create new demands on flexibility, openness and innovation within research, education and practice. Creativity and innovation both concern the organisation of health and welfare services, and how they are carried out in dialogue with service users/clients/patients. One example of our research activity in this area is health and welfare technology and the cooperation arena for Health and Welfare Technology (named “the Arena”) which coordinates the Mälardalen University research on health and welfare technology with user perspectives as its research profile.