200616 Interactions of people with disabilities with nursing staff during hospitalization

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:06 AM

Suzanne C. Smeltzer, RN, EdD , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Patricia Haynor, PhD, RN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Colleen Avery, RN, BSN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
This study explored experiences of people with disabilities in their interactions with nurses and their perceptions about care during hospital stays. Although inadequate primary health care and screening have been identified as major issues for people with disabilities, less is known about nursing care. One study revealed that people with disabilities have strong negative reactions to the idea of hospitalization because of lack of awareness of nursing staff about their needs during hospital stays. Lack of quality care by nurses has resulted in catastrophic outcomes, including injury and even death of patients with disabilities. Six focus groups of 35 people with disabilities were held; the groups ranged in size from 4 to 10 participants who were recruited from a wheelchair community, a center for independent living, and an educational program for women with disabilities. Participants had physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities. After providing written consent, participants were asked about their previous positive and negative experiences/encounters with nursing staff. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed and validated for accuracy. Content analysis was used to identify recurring themes. Four major themes emerged: poor communication on the part of nursing staff, compromised nursing care, negative attitudes of nursing staff toward people with disabilities, and fears of people with disabilities during hospital stays. They identified the need for extra vigilance on their part or that of their family to protect them, particularly if they had difficulty communicating. They recommended that nurses and nursing staff be taught how to interact with patients, particularly those with impaired communication.

Learning Objectives:
Describe experiences of people with disabilities in their interactions with nursing staff during hospital stays

Keywords: Health Care Delivery, Barriers to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Presenter has been conducting research related to health care of people with disabilities for over 15 years. This includes a focus on knowledge of health care providers about disability-related issues.
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.