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Exploring the Experiences of Women who are Wheelchair Bound in Attaining Contraceptives: A focused ethnographic study Open Access


Other title
qualitative research
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Gratton, Carolyn
Supervisor and department
Leung, Ada (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
Esmail, Shaniff (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
Examining committee member and department
Rusk, Kerry (Faculty of Nursing)
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Rehabilitation Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Contraceptive and gynecological care is an important part of woman’s health, whether able bodied or wheelchair bound. After a thorough literature search, the gap in knowledge with respect to contraceptive use in women who are wheelchair bound was evident. Lack of adequate information and options, inaccessible facilities and examination rooms, and uncertainties about contraceptive care by health care professionals all came to surface by reviewing the literature. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of women who are wheelchair bound in attaining contraceptive and gynecological care. In using a focused ethnographic approach, ten women completed an online survey and an unstructured interview exploring their experience in attaining contraceptives, with the health care facilities, their relationship with health care providers, and they were asked about what could be done to better their experience. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed using a structured 10-step interpretive thematic analysis with constant back checking. Although the women differed in their experiences with contraceptives, they were unanimous in the importance of being in control of their sexual health. The gap in knowledge of the various methods was evident and the women agreed they were unsatisfied with the current contraceptive options they were using. The women deemed the suggestion of more accessible contraceptive information advantageous. Improved facilities, especially examination beds with adjustable heights would significantly benefit the experience of women in wheelchairs in attaining gynecological care. Also, having health care professionals being open and educated about the sexual health needs of women who are wheelchair bound would also be beneficial. The women all desired to have individualized contraceptive care, which would allow them to collaborate with their health care providers and select a contraceptive method best suited to them as an individual.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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