Long-Term Care: Living with
Functionalism and the Sick Role Theory
Interactionism and Chronic Illness
Comparison and Reconciliation: Functionalism and Interactionism
Chronic disease is the irreversible presence, accumulation, or latency of disease states or impairments that involve the total human physical and social environment for supportive care, maintenance of function, and prevention of further disability (Strauss et al., 1984). Epidemiological information indicates that chronic diseases are and will continue to be of major concern to the health care system, particularly in view of the aging of the Canadian population. The prevalence of disability is considerable according to recent data. The Canadian Health and Disability Survey indicates that 12.8 percent or 2,448,000 individuals reported some level of disability, defined as some limitation to one's major activity. Despite evidence of the extent of chronic illness within the population, few health professionals demonstrate either an interest in working in this area or an understanding of the social psychological processes involved in the experience of chronic illness.
By definition, chronic illness is a long-term event in a person's life (Bury, 1991) and involves ongoing, long-term care. However, most health professionals are educated using an acute care model and subsequently have difficulty when