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Clinical Nurse Specialist:
doi: 10.1097/NUR.0b013e3181d82b89
Feature Articles

Healthcare Experiences of Women With Visual Impairment

SHARTS-HOPKO, NANCY C. PhD, RN, FAAN; SMELTZER, SUZANNE EdD, RN, FAAN; OTT, BARBARA B. PhD, RN; ZIMMERMAN, VANESSA MSN, RN; DUFFIN, JANICE MSN, RN, CCM

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Abstract

Purpose: This investigation was a secondary analysis of focus group transcripts to address the question of how women with low vision or blindness have experienced healthcare.

Design: Secondary analysis of qualitative data was performed on transcripts from 2 focus groups.

Setting: These focus groups were conducted at an agency serving visually impaired people in Philadelphia.

Sample: The 2 focus groups included 7 and 11 women, respectively, having low-vision or who are blind who had been part of an original study of reaching hard-to-reach women with disabilities.

Methods: Content analysis for the identification of thematic clusters was performed on transcriptions of the focus group data.

Findings: Findings are consistent with existing research on the health needs of women with disabilities but add specific understanding related to visual impairment. Six thematic categories were identified: health professionals' awareness, information access, healthcare access, isolation, the need for self-advocacy, and perception by others.

Conclusions and implications: Secondary analysis of qualitative data affords in-depth understanding of a particular subset of participants within a larger study. Clinical nurse specialists and other health professionals need to increase their sensitivity to the challenges faced by women with visual impairment, and plan and provide care accordingly. Health professions students need to be prepared to interact with people who are visually impaired and healthcare settings need to respond to their needs.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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