Information and care: a relational approach

Marian Barnes, Flis Henwood, Naomi Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores how the provision of information about dementia impacts on carers and the caring relationships in which they are involved. Narrative interviews were undertaken with 25 carers who had undertaken the Alzheimer's Society - run Carer Information and Support Programme in one of seven sites across London and the South East. Thematic analysis identified two major themes relating to the impact of information on carer and caring relationships (‘understanding and care' and ‘emotional impact of information'), and another theme relating to the context within which the information was provided and shared (‘relational practices in information-giving and receiving'). Findings suggest that while information, particularly in the form of new knowledge about how dementia progresses, helps to improve understanding and increase confidence, competence and a sense of security and achievement in caring practices, it can also confound and complicate caring practices in ways that reflect and reinforce previously difficult relationships. Providing information in the context of carers' support was important for most participants but others were less able to benefit from this, especially where they felt unrecognised or where the timing of information felt inappropriate to their needs. Our analysis complements and extends previous scholarship emphasising the relational nature of care by showing how information can both enhance and complicate care relationships, depending on both specific care contexts and on how carers experience the context of information provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-525
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2014


  • carers
  • dementia
  • ethics of care
  • information
  • logic of care


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