Creating Healthy Settings in Danish Special Needs Institutions –applying participatory action research to promote health knowledge in cooperation with special needs institutions employees

Kasper Andreas Kristensen

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Danish special needs institutions (SNI) care for citizens with significant disabilities. SNI's are classified and regulated as a social service provider and not as a health service. SNI's do, however, must present themselves as treatment schools or -homes to get funding from municipalities. SNI's social service classification focuses on special pedagogics and social support and leaves less emphasis on health knowledge and theory. For SNI's It adds a conceptual void in the professional's knowledge since health is implicitly part of their work of developing their user's capabilities and thriving. We, then, invited three SNI's to participate in a study of how to identify and conceptualize aspects of promoting health for their users in their daily institutional and pedagogical practices. The participating SNI's had a general interest in identifying their local institutional health potentials to change the institutions to healthier settings. The methods based on participatory action research, ethnographic field studies, interviews with the professionals and users, joint presentations of case reports in workshops, following up by the institution's professionals visiting each other. The methods created empirical material to be re-interpreted and analyzed in a joint co-creation of knowledge, aiming at identifying health promotion aspects in their institutional and educational practices. The main findings were that involving SNI's leaders and professionals in identifying health promotion potentials in practice opt for constructive ideas and changes in their institutional health practices.
TidsskriftInternational Quarterly of Community Health Education
StatusUnder udarbejdelse - 19 jun. 2020


  • healthy settings
  • special needs
  • health education
  • participatory action research

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