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1.2.7 Margaret

Margaret was in her thirties when she learnt she had breast cancer. Some three years later, after the removal of the affected breast, she was leading a very busy life working full-time at the Open University, studying part-time for an OU degree and running a family. Fitness activities such as jogging and various sports had become very important in her life. She was also very involved in cancer research fundraising activities. She described the impact of her brush with death in this way:


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1.2.6 Encounters with death

Although we each die only once, there may be many a brush with death throughout the course of a person’s life. The experience of having been close to death can have a major impact on the way in which a person continues living. For Elaine, the awareness that she might be about to die has affected the way she lives now that her prognosis is good. She describes herself as prepared for death and impatient of those who are not. She also has difficulty entering fully back into life.


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Acknowledgements

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Table 1: Department of Health 1994, On the State of the Public Health: The Annual Report of the Chie
Author(s): The Open University

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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • outline how encouraging people to talk about the past can be a way of helping them to manage change in their lives and establish identity in the present;

  • demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles in life story work which could apply at any age or stage of life;

  • appreciate that life story work is as much about dealing with the present and preparing for the future as it is sorting out feelings
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1.5.4 The patient’s role

Activity 8: The passive actor

0 hours 5 minutes

The patient is entirely passive in this scene. Does that mean that she has no role and is unimportant to the scene? Does her silence
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1.5.2 Playing doctors, nurses and patients

Activity 7: The doctor role

0 hours 5 minutes

It is easy to see how junior doctors can see themselves as bei
Author(s): The Open University

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1.4.2 The doctor–patient relationship

However, some care relationships are more tightly defined and more hierarchical, for example a doctor’s relationship with a patient. Within the biomedical model, the doctor’s role is to focus on the patient’s body and its functioning. The patient’s role is to report clearly and accurately on the body’s functions and the feelings it transmits. There is relatively little scope for the patient to influence the definition of this scene. The doctor generally makes the opening moves, whil
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1.4.1 Taking on a role

You can only succeed with a projection of yourself which other people are prepared to accept. And you then have to play out the scene the way others in the situation expect it to be played.

Reg and Glenda did not start their opening scene from nothing. They were working within widely shared understanding of home help work, which views it as version of ‘housework’. Cleaning and shopping are seen as traditional ‘women’s work’ – low in status, poorly paid and weakly defined in
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1.2.2 Everyday scenes

Activity 3: Openings to everyday scene

0 hours 5 minutes

Think of examples of everyday scenes, at home or a work, which could be radically reshaped by an opening remark


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1.2 Defining the scene

Let us first consider what kind of ‘scene’ the home help was proposing that she and Reg should play out together.

0 hours 5 minutes

When the home help asked, ‘What do you want me t
Author(s): The Open University

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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • demonstrate your understanding of the importance of negotiating the meaning of care relationships;

  • identify ways in which people play the roles of ‘carer’ and ‘receiver of care’.


Author(s): The Open University

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1.3.5 Coping with relocation

We have seen that attachment to place can be important in terms of developing and maintaining feelings of security and a sense of self-identity However, care for some people involves relocation.

Changes of place often involve people in coping with other types of change such as:

  • changes of role (for example from being a homeowner to being a resident of a home; or from being a hospital resident to being a resident in the community)

  • <
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1.3.4 Change on a daily basis: Day unit care

The importance of maintaining continuity of people and places is important in both cases. Many people attend day care services and find that the change is a stimulating experience, widening their daily contacts and allowing them to become part of another group. The issues of continuity of experience raised here will be familiar to day care workers.

Click below to hear an audio clip describing Redwood Day Unit.


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1.3.3 Change on a daily basis: shared care for the elderly

In the case of Mr Bright care is shared between his wife and formal carers and changes in the place of care are primarily to give Mrs Bright a break and Mr Bright a change of scene.

Click below to hear an audio clip describing a day in the life of Mr and Mrs Bright.

1.3.1 The impact of surroundings

Thinking about attachment to places leads us to think about just the opposite: how do people feel when they have to change places and move from one situation to another? Some people are always on the move while others seem to stay put for long periods of their lives. For children and adults receiving care services moving between places may be a common occurrence.

These moves may be:

  • daily, part of a shared pattern of care where a person
    Author(s): The Open University

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1.2.4 Places and spaces as resources

Attachment to places can be a resource within care relationships, especially where people have a shared history of attachment to places. An older couple may have experienced the ups and downs of moving between places together for much of their lives. Or a daughter may be caring for her mother in the home where she was born and brought up. A shared understanding of the home environment and the support which may be available locally can be invaluable in developing a care relationship. Such know
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Text: 'Dream parents': courtesy of Anastasia Lee-
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1.5.4 Networks

The way Katrina's story is presented leaves out others who may be involved with the family. This is because the story was part of a campaign by Community Care magazine to highlight the plight of young carers. It made sense to emphasise Katrina's role and omit information which might detract from the impact of a single-issue campaign.

The discovery of young carers is an interesting example of what happens when the official spotlight is turned on a particular group in society. Ther
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2.4.3 abelling

The term ‘informal carer’ is a label. It was coined to describe people who take on unpaid responsibility for the welfare of another person. It is a term which has meaning only when the public world of care provision comes into contact with the private world of the family where caring is a day-to-day, unremarked-upon activity, like reminding a young child to clean her teeth. Labelling yourself as an informal carer requires a major shift in the way you see yourself, a shift neither Arthur n
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