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Poster boys and the rehabilitative dream: using a temporal lens to explore severe brain injury rehabilitation

Latchem-Hastings, Julie ORCID: 2023. Poster boys and the rehabilitative dream: using a temporal lens to explore severe brain injury rehabilitation. Journal of Long-Term Care 10.31389/jltc.166

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Context: The future comes into the present and acts upon the now. Understanding how engagement with the future shapes today and how actions taken in the now affect a time yet to come is important in understanding and improving brain injury rehabilitative practice. Objective: This paper examines the way in which futures of different types of brain-injured residents residing in long-term neurological care settings are imagined by health and care professionals and the role a ‘rehabilitative imaginary’ has in how residents’ futures are imagined or go unimagined. Methods: Over 500 hours of ethnographic observations and 49 interviews with staff members in two neurological rehabilitation and long-term settings in England were analysed using situational analysis, drawing out key rehabilitative narratives presented here. Findings: Residents were primarily categorised by their abilities to rehabilitate successfully (or not) and their futures imagined (or not) in line with their rehabilitative journey. Key residents who successfully rehabilitated and fulfilled a rehabilitative ideal were held up as ‘poster boys’ (or girls), providing a positive advertisement for the organisation, engendered dedication to the specialism of neurological rehabilitation and reinforced rehabilitation-as-process. Limitations: Data was collected in two English care settings. Applicability to international care settings is unknown. Extraneous factors restricting health care professionals’ future imaginings were not explicitly studied. Implications: The paper concludes by considering the implications of rehabilitative imaginary-fuelled narratives in these settings. It argues that predominant rehabilitative narratives bracket out how and if the futures of those unable to rehabilitate successfully are imagined by health care professionals and questions whether non-imagining leads to inaction around those not rehabilitating. Potential organisational and structural reasons for constrained health care professionals’ imaginings is discussed, and broader applicability of the reification of particular patient types in other areas of health care is considered.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: International Long Term Care Policy Network
ISSN: 2516-9122
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 29 March 2023
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 21:18

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