Transforming normative, ableist, and biomedical orientations to living well and quality of life in nursing: Reimagining what a ventilated body can do

Nursing Inquiry 30 (3):e12554 (2023)
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Abstract

A goal of living as well as possible is central to practice and research with young adults living with home mechanical ventilation (HMV). Significant effort has been put into conceptualizing and measuring the quality of life (QOL) as a proxy for living well. Yet, dominant understandings of QOL have been influenced by normative, ableist, and biomedical discourses about what constitutes a good life that, when applied in practice and systems with those living with HMV, can contribute to exclusion and constrain opportunities to live well. Inquiry into what certain understandings of living well can do is critical to opening up possibilities to reimagine living well with HMV. This paper draws on findings from a critical narrative inquiry that explored the experiences of five young adults (ages 18–40 years) living with HMV. Data were co‐constructed virtually through an initial interview and photo‐elicitation using participant‐generated photographs. A critical narrative analysis of participants' stories made visible the ideological effects of ableist, biomedical, and individualist discourses and how the young adults reproduced and resisted these dominant discourses. Their stories further opened up possibilities for nurses and other healthcare providers to see living well and QOL differently.

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