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Lifetime Active Care: A qualitative study of long-term family carers of people with spinal cord injury in Australia

This study reports the findings of a qualitative, grounded theory study which explored the experiences of partners and other long-term family carers living with and supporting loved ones with spinal cord injury. The study is exploratory in that little was previously known about the experience of long-term care-giving in this context in Australia. Most research in this area has focused on this experience during the first 5 years postinjury. This study focuses on the experiences of family carers beyond that 5-year period. The study aimed to explore the experience of partners and other long-term family carers of people with spinal cord injury, and illuminate their daily lives, interests, concerns and caring approaches in this context. Data collection included in-depth interviews, a focus group and an on-line, password-protected research blog for participant narrative reflections. Findings revealed that the experience of long-term caring is complex, all-encompassing and lifelong. This experience is conceptualised here as lifetime active care which always involves what we describe as protective, negotiated, surreptitious and strategic caring. These dimensions of caring are interdependent and deeply embedded in the daily, active support provided by long-term carers of people with spinal cord injury. We argue that carers in this context are involved in processes that have, in other contexts, been conceptualised as narrative reconstruction and also that the four dimensions of caring identified involve significant emotion work. The social processes of lifetime active care may shed light on the experiences of family carers in other long-term care contexts.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
ISBN/ISSN
0966-0410
Publication Year
2020
Issue Number
5
Journal Titles
Health & Social Care in the Community
Volume Number
28
Start Page
1622
End Page
1631