'Kate': The constant rediscovery of a poem

Bornat, Joanna (2008). 'Kate': The constant rediscovery of a poem. In: Johnson, Julia and De Souza, Corinne eds. Understanding Health and Social Care. London, UK: Sage, pp. 14–22.

URL: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/textbooksProdTOC.nav?prod...


'Kate' or 'Crabbit Old Woman' or 'Open your eyes' is a poem which has become iconic within care delivery settings, training programmes and generally in the UK, even worldwide. It has an origin story, found in the bedside locker of a frail older person never heard to speak whilst she was alive, which adds to the strength of its message. In the chapter, the poem's history is explored, including excerpts from an interview with Chris Searle who was amongst the first to publish it in the 1970s. Assessing the poem's contribution thirty years later, the chapter ends by suggesting that although opinions may be divided as to its origins and qualities, its role in pointing to the need to be constantly self critical with regard to care of older people, cannot be ignored.

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