2.2 Introducing the Durrants
The Arthur and Lynne case study
We will be focusing on a single case study, about Arthur and Lynne Durrant. This enables us to explore some broad questions about care, carers and caring which might be quite boring and divorced from real life if they were presented in the abstract – as official statistics, extracts from White Papers or legislation.
The case study is not ‘typical’. In fact, it presents a fairly unusual situation, one which you might not recognise from your own experience. It was chosen because it is unusual. It raises important questions in a particularly challenging way– questions about who carries responsibility for caring for whom, why they carry that responsibility, the impact caring has on their lives, the support they get, and the support they might need.
I use the case study to pose questions and test ideas which otherwise might be difficult to focus on. When you think about a practical situation in all its complexity, questions acquire a sharper edge. If you work in a hospital, say, or with children, do not be put off by the differences. Think instead about the similarities – how you would answer the questions we are exploring in relation to Lynne and Arthur, in a situation with which you are familiar.
The story is presented in the audio clip 'Caring in families: a case study'. It is based on a real-life incident, narrated during two long interviews about her life by the woman we have called Lynne Durrant. But it is not real life, because it has been dramatised to ensure no one can recognise the people or the places named, and some details have been changed. The drama introduces Lynne Durrant, a single woman born in 1947 who is in her forties at the time of the interviews. She lives with Arthur, her father, who is insulin-dependent. He also depends on others to meet many of his physical needs. As a child Lynne was certified as being a ‘mental defective’ in the language of the time, and excluded from school on those grounds. Although she now has a job, she is still known to social services as a person with a learning disability. Lynne and Arthur live in a high-rise flat on a large estate built by the local authority in the 1960s. The estate is still largely in public ownership, known locally as council housing.
Audio: click below to listen to the case study on 'Caring in Families'
Transcript: Caring in Families
Click to read 'Caring in families: a case study'.
Activity 1: Getting to know the case study
This activity is designed to get you familiar with the Durrants’ case study. It is in two parts.
Read ‘Caring in families: a case study’. This tells you the basic story derived from research interviews with Lynne and Rita, her disability employment worker, whom she chose to have present at the interviews.
Play the audio clip 'Caring in families: a case study'. Listen to it all through once. Make sure you have a broad idea of what's going on.
When you have done both, jot down some ideas about how the Durrant family compares with the family conjured up in the poem, ‘Dream parents’.
The Durrant family is a long way from the idealised family in the ‘Dream parents’ poem. This points to the sheer diversity of families. I noted in particular that there is no mother in the Durrant family, nor are there any young children.