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"Struggling to Catch Up: Families, Identities, and Narrative Care" lecture presented by Hilde Lindemann
Families perform many morally valuable functions for their own members, not the least of which is providing care when they are ill or injured. I argue that a second family function—that of sustaining their members’ personal identities—is deeply implicated in that care. After explaining the narrative nature of identity maintenance, I discuss three cases where family caregivers must find the right sto-ries to repair the identity of one of their own: where the identity has been repudiated, where the identi-ty lies at the limits of responsibility, and where the patient has lost her second nature. As I examine these cases, I argue that if healthcare professionals recognize and respect this familial caring labor, they can do a better job of providing the patient with their own form of care.