Organizational narratives in rehabilitation-focused dementia care: negotiating identities, interventions and personhood

Lea Graff*, Helle Timm, Jette Thuesen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde


BACKGROUND: Rehabilitation is increasingly being introduced in dementia care but studies highlight extensive heterogeneity in practices, conceptual confusion and divergent perceptions of its relevance across care organizations and national contexts. As this have implications for development of dementia care as well as for people with dementia's access to care it is important to study the organizational narratives and practices in rehabilitation-oriented dementia care organizations.

METHODS: The study build on qualitative interviews (individual and group interviews) with health professionals (N = 26) engaged with dementia care and rehabilitation in two Danish municipalities. The interviews were conducted in 2018-2019. The empirical data was analyzed using abductive analysis and theory-based narrative analysis, using Loseke's conceptualizations of and approach to analyzing formula stories.

FINDINGS: Four dominant organizational narratives were constructed from the data. Each narrative produced a specific organizational narrative of client identity: the active participant in individualized rehabilitation, the inactive individual benefitting from enhanced social environments, the disengaging self and the vulnerable self.

CONCLUSION: Introducing rehabilitation in dementia care may amplify the organizational polyphonic and provide a plurality of organizational identities each expressing different perceptions of personhood and agency for people with dementia. The organizational narratives were negotiated within a specific structural context where national regulation and dominant discourses on economic challenges and ageing gave precedence to some narratives more than others. In Danish elder care, the first narrative is the most influential but risks excluding people with dementia. Instead, rehabilitation in dementia care is positioned within a social and relational perspective, which may silence important discussion of agency and resistance.

Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)709-726
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023


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