Value of Learning Processes in Quality Circles for Self-Help Members as Actors in Person-Centred Care

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Julia Müller
Ottomar Bahrs


Background: The need for quality-promoting measures in self-help work arises from the importance of self-help within the health care system and an associated demand for professionalisation. In a pilot study, members of different self-help groups worked with the “Quality Circle in Health Care” method, QuiG® for short, and their learning effects were tracked and described.
Research questions: What and how is learned in a QuiG®? Can the QuiG® methodology be transferred to the work in self-help groups and thus positively contribute to coping with illness and life?
Methods: We chose a qualitative study design. After completing the quality circle, we conducted guided interviews with each participant. The interviews were evaluated using qualitative content analysis, according to Mayring.
Results: The quality circle work shows its effects both in the self-help work and in the everyday life of the participants. It becomes clear that the learning effects are not dependent on the respective clinical picture of the QuiG® participant and are not limited to the disease that had led to participation in the self-help group.
Discussion: The interview and the guide were very well suited for this research project. As influencing factors, for example, a language barrier, comprehension problems, the age difference between the interviewee and interviewer, and the life history background of the interviewees could be identified. The evaluation method impresses by its strength – rule-guidedness; weaknesses are the early reduction of the complexity of the object of analysis during the evaluation and the missing guidance for the study of the developed code system. As leading learning processes of the participants, learning from the model, experiential learning and reflective learning, could be worked out as core processes. Regarding the transferability of the QuiG® method to the work in self-help groups, it becomes clear that it is fundamentally feasible and meaningful. Still, structural and content-related conditions should be elaborated and adapted.

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