Swedish word of the day: vård

Swedish word of the day: vård
Hear how to pronounce 'vård' in the clip below. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Understanding the different ways to use this word is crucial if you care about sounding natural in Swedish.

Vård means 'care' or 'service', depending on the context. Hear how to pronounce it in the clip below:

Most commonly, you will hear vård or vården used as a catch-all term for the medical and healthcare sectors.

For example, if someone says jag jobbar inom vården, it means 'I work in care/healthcare', or you might hear politicians say that we should invest more in vården.

You can also use it to talk about receiving care in response to a health problem.

For example, phrases like han borde söka vård(he should seek [health]care) or jag behövde vård (I needed care/treatment) could be used about someone who has an injury or symptom that requires a doctor, or mental health issues that require professional help.

Because the meaning is so broad, it is often used as part of a compound word: sjukvård (healthcare), tandvård (dental care), or fotvård (chiropody) for example.

And it's not only people who sometimes need vård. You can get bilvård for your car or cykelvård for your bike.

Vård refers to structured care, usually administered by a professional but not always. You can also talk about egenvård (literally self-care) which is when you are given advice on treating an illness or injury by yourself. Contrast that to hemvård, which means 'home care', but refers to a professional who comes to your home to give any care you need.

There is also vård av barn (VAB), the term given to benefit paid to parents who miss work due to caring for a sick child.

A good way of knowing when to use vård is to think about whether in English you would say 'care for' or 'care about' in the same context. 'Caring about' someone or something is usually translated as bryr sig om in Swedish (for example hon bryr sig om sina barn – she cares about her children), which is the word to use when talking about unstructured care, with a focus on attitude rather than actions. 

Examples

Sverige behöver fler resurser till vården

Sweden needs more resources for healthcare

Han har fått vård

He received medical care/treatment


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