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Inform with care: ethics and information in care for people with dementia

Good care is often positioned as a natural by-product of the widespread availability of good information (‘inform to care’). This paper contests this association through empirical investigation of the information–care relationship in the context of dementia care. It combines critiques of the ‘informatisation’ of care with insights from the epistemological dimension of care ethics to argue that information is better understood as ‘situated knowledge’ and that the relational practices of care involve the mobilisation and negotiation of different types of knowledge that are specific to caring relationships and contexts. The argument is illustrated through the three cases of caring relationships taken from a qualitative evaluation of an information and support course for carers of people with dementia. These cases highlight the specificity of caring relationships and the very different consequences of introducing new forms of knowledge into each relationship and provide evidence for the need for a paradigm shift where the idea of informing to care is replaced by a process of informing with care. In the former, information is understood as separate and outside of care, while nevertheless acting upon it to produce care; in the latter, information is understood as inextricably linked to care (with care) but not in any predetermined or uni-directional sense. The paper identifies key interlinked components of the ‘inform with care’ approach derived from the cases discussed.

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Ethics and Social Welfare

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Social care online
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