Ramos DD, Lima MDS. Acesso e acolhimento aos usuários em uma unidade de saúde de Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil . [Access and user embracement in a health center in Porto Alegre, Río Grande do Sul, Brazil.] Cadernos de Saúde Pública [Public Health Notebooks] (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) 2003 January-February; 19(1):27-34.

Objectives: To analyze, from the perspective of users, factors that influence the quality of care, focusing on access and the reception accorded users (acolhimento) at a health center in Porto Alegre, Río Grande so Sul, Brazil.

Methodology: Qualitative through semi-structured interviews and participant observation.

Results: User embracement entails humanizing the interactions between workers in the health services and those who use the services. The encounter between the two creates a relationship of listening and of empathetic response, out of which ties and commitments are formed that guide subsequent interventions. This encounter enables the healthcare worker to use his or her principal technology and knowledge, to treat the user as a person bearing an illness and a set of rights. The objectives of the intervention include the user’s health or well-being and the control of suffering.

The users interviewed noted that economic and organizational factors carried important weight in choosing healthcare services, but user embracement or the the reception accorded users, greatly exceeded such factors in importance. The organization of services and the professional competence of the health team were significant factors leading to satisfaction among users.

The health center worked within traditional organizational structures centered upon medical consultations that followed typical shifts of duty during the day. The staggered wait that users endured to obtain medical care could not be eliminated, which resulted in many users leaving the center before their problems could be attended to and resolved. Nevertheless, healthcare workers were strongly concerned with providing a humanized form of care, something that was observed in the daily routines of service. Managers put into place a series of measures in an effort to lessen users’ difficulties.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated the need for: increasing the number of professionals, instituting training in the policy of user embracement, earlier opening of the health center so that people could await their turns for consultation inside the center, and provision of care to the residents of the area where the center is located, following a prioritized schedule.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico