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Keywords:

  • emancipatory practice development;
  • memory clinic nursing;
  • assessment of dementia;
  • life-story work;
  • constructivism

Abstract

This paper outlines an approach to understanding and informing emancipatory practice development through the integration of constructivist approaches to its basic design, in this case biographical life-story work. Based on an on-going constructivist grounded theory study conducted by a specialist memory clinical nurse in North Wales, and using practitioner-research principles (Reed and Procter, 1995), the exchange of each participant's narrative account of their diagnostic experience (N=6) led to the establishment of new assessment and diagnostic sharing practices in the participating memory clinic. Through a reflexive process, three phases were identified that captured this journey, namely practice reflection, practice modification and practice transformation, and these phases were underpinned by time and personal influence factors. We suggest that the integration of constructivist research into emancipatory practice development could be an important development of the approach and lead to practice change based on the experience of service users. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.