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Companions' dilemma of intervention when they mediate between patients with intellectual disabilities and health staff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Charles Antaki, Deborah Chinn

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2024-2030
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number11
Published1 Nov 2019

King's Authors


Objective: We analyse, for the first time, how companions intervene in the answers that an adult patient with intellectual disabilities gives to their medical practitioner in primary care. Methods: Video records of 25 health-check consultations in a large multi-ethnic city in the UK were analysed with the qualitative methods of Conversation Analysis. Results: We found that companions' interventions in patients' answers fell along a gradient of low to high entitlement, from mere hinting to outright direct take-over. Conclusion: Companions have to manage the dilemma of displaying information which is the proper domain of the patient: encroachment on the patient's epistemic rights versus the needs of the medical practitioner. Practice Implications: Practitioners may need to check the patients themselves when their companions intervene at the most assertive end of the gradient of help.

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