As experts-by-experience, clients are thought to give specific input for and legitimacy to regulatory work. In this paper we track a 2017 pilot by the Dutch Health and Youth Care Inspectorate that aimed to use experiential knowledge in risk regulation through engaging with clients of long-term elderly care homes. Through an ethnographic inquiry we evaluate the design of this pilot. We find how the pilot transforms selected clients into experts-by-experience through training and site visits. In this transformation, clients attempt, and fail, to bring to the fore their definitions of quality and safety, negating their potentially specific contributions. Paradoxically, in their attempts to expose valid new knowledge on the quality of care, the pilot constructs the experts-by-experience in such a way that this knowledge is unlikely to be opened up. Concurrently, we find that in their attempts to have their input seen as valid, experts-by-experience downplay the value of their experiential knowledge. Thus, we show how dominating, legitimated interpretations of (knowledge about) quality of care resonate in experimental regulatory practices that explicitly try to move beyond them, emphasizing the need for a pragmatic and reflexive engagement with clients in the supervision of long-term elderly care.

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Health Policy
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

de Graaff, B., Stoopendaal, A., & Leistikow, I. P. (2018). Transforming clients into experts-by-experience. Health Policy. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2018.11.006