Struggling to catch up: families, identities, and narrative care
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Families perform many morally valuable functions for their own members, not the least of which is providing care when they are ill or injured. Hilde Lindemann, Ph.D., argues 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, she discusses three cases where family care givers must find the right stories to repair the identity of one of their own: where the identity has been repudiated, where the identity lies at the limits of responsibility, and where the patient has lost her second nature. As Dr. Lindemann examines these cases, she argue that if health care professionals recognize and respect this familial caring labor, they can do a better job of providing the patient with their own form of care.