Signs and symbols may be used in attempts to direct attention to particular aspects of patient care and hence affect how the patient is seen. An ethnography within five hospitals across England and Wales explored how everyday technologies are enrolled on acute wards to drive attention to the existence, diagnosis, and needs of people living with dementia within their ageing population. We explore how signs and symbols as everyday "technologies of attention" both produce and maintain the invisibilities of people living with dementia and of the older population within those wards and bring about particular understandings of the classification of dementia. The use and reliance on signs and symbols to aid recognition of people living with dementia may inadvertently lead to misclassification and narrow attention onto particular aspects of bedside care and "symptoms," competing with a wider appreciation of the individual care needs of people living with dementia and restricting expertise of ward staff.


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pp. 49-61
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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