Holding Time

Human Need and Relationships in Dementia Care

By Esther Ramsay-Jones

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Esther Ramsay-Jones is a lecturer in ‘Death, Dying and Bereavement’ at the Open University.  She has presented her work at various locations around the world and her papers have been published in academic journals and anthologies.

Informed by the author’s work in dementia care and palliative care as a psychodynamic psychotherapist, Holding Time contributes to an increasing recognition of the importance and value of relationship-centred care in this field. Most of the book is written ethnographically and unfolds as a narrative. It also includes the real words of staff and residents from the care homes in which she conducted observations.

Holding Time explores how the relational investment in care is vital alongside a technical one. The book does this by detailing the micro-interactions of everyday care and concern and play before moving out on to a wider, organisational and macro stage. It addresses our fears about dependency on a societal level, and attempts to challenge the foregrounding of the independent, rational individual over all other experiences.

The author’s contribution is particular to the UK dementia care home setting, and offers a predominantly psychoanalytic take. It is a contemporary exploration of the dementia care field, and contributes to the general movement to improve care of those living (and working) with dementia.

'Her reflections are a testimony to the value of time and space to reflect on this most difficult area of care which is rarely provided for carers but which she convincingly argues is a necessity for them if they are to maintain sensitivity and resilience in providing care for people who are ending their lives enduring this most devastating illness.' - Paul Terry, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

'This book will surprise, delight, pain and disturb for its vivid depiction of the world of patients with different degrees and forms of dementia and their carers' struggles to understand and provide sensitive care. The author's capacities for meticulous detailed observation of relationships in care homes, and her psychoanalytically honed understanding of non-verbal communication combine to introduce us to the complexity of this world in a very moving way.' - Margaret Rustin, Associate of The British Psychoanalytical Society

'HoldingTime is a unique in-depth study of the care of people suffering from dementia. The author, Esther Ramsay-Jones writes from a hands on experience of being a carer herself, and from making sustained observational studies of care in two very different dementia care homes. She provides detailed studies of individual residents with their carers and interviews with staff in the homes during her visits to the homes in which she forged relationships with these people. This is often a painful book to read because author vividly conveys the struggles of those who are losing their minds and language with which to comprehend and express their experiences; and reciprocally she conveys the struggles of those who are trying to care for them as best they can. The author draws on a variety of psychoanalytic perspectives of individual and organisational dynamics to elucidate her understanding of the observations, and particularly of the unconscious processes which can contribute to positive and negative experiences in dementia care. Her reflections are a testimony to the value of time and space to reflect on this most difficult area of care which is rarely provided for carers but which she convincingly argues is a necessity for them if they are to maintain sensitivity and resilience in providing care for people who are ending their lives enduring this most devastating illness.' - Paul Terry, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Additional Information :

Published 2019 (Free Ass. Books) - ISBN: 9781911383253 - 230 Pages - Paperback - Rights: World