195518 Improving the health of women with developmental disabilities

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Patricia J. Kelly, PhD , School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Michele Reynolds , Institute for Human Development, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Stacie Williams , Institute for Human Development, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Amanda George , Helen Sanderson Associates, Liberty, MO
Background: Approximately 7% of women in the United States have a diagnosis of mild to moderate cognitive impairment. Knowledge about health issues and skills with self-advocacy are limited in this population.

Methods: We implemented a two-part program consisting of eight monthly hands-on, interactive education sessions, followed by ten monthly support groups to reinforce material. All material was based on a foundation of self-determination. Content included breast health, pelvic exams, physician visits, relaxation, diet and exercise. Women developed individual health plans and set personal goals which were discussed and updated at every meeting. Participant observation and field notes were collected to evaluate outcomes and content analysis used to examine data.

Results: Over a two year period, 39 number of women from four facilities participated in the program. Three themes were apparent throughout the data: women thrive with positive attention, working with women who have varying levels of disabilities provides a positive experience for all, and staff benefit from training as much as women with disabilities.

Conclusion: The goal of self-efficacy for women with cognitive disabilities around issues of personal health is time-consuming but very possible. The high acceptance of program content by women and staff indicated an unmet need in this population.

Discussion: Program acceptance and success has led us to begin work in two new areas: sustainability and staff training.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe evaluation strategies appropriate for health programs conducted with women with developmental disabilities; 2. Identify learning strategies appropriate for improving the health of women with developmental disabilities.

Keywords: Disability, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in the development and implementation of the program
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.