Purpose: In this paper, we critically investigate the implementation of person-centered care with the purpose of advancing philosophical debates regarding the overarching aims and delivery of rehabilitation. While general agreement exists regarding person centered care’s core principles, how practitioners reconcile the implementation of these principles with competing practice demands remains an open question.
Materials and methods: For the paper, we drew on post-qualitative methods to engage in a process of “diffractive” analysis wherein we analyzed the micro-doings of person-centered care in everyday rehabilitation work. Working from our team members’ diverse experiences, traditions, and epistemological commitments, we engaged with data from nine “care events” generated in previous research to interrogate the multiple forces that co-produce care practices.
Results: We map our analyses under three categories: scripts mediate practice, securing compliance through “benevolent manipulations”, and care(ful) tinkering. In the latter, we explore the notion of tinkering as a useful concept for approaching person centered care. Uncertainty, humility, and doubt in one’s expertise are inherent to tinkering, which involves a continual questioning of what to do, what is best, and what is person centered care within each moment of care. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for rehabilitation and person-centered care.