Poster Presentation

Monday, November 5, 2007
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Monday, November 5, 2007
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
This presentation is part of : Scientific Posters
The Meaning of Health for Older People with a Disability in Ireland
Kathy Murphy, PhD, RN, BA, RNT1, Adeline Cooney, RN, BNS, RNT, MM1, Dympna Casey, PhD, RGN, BA, MA2, and Eamon O'Shea, PhD3. (1) Centre for Nursing Studies, St SAnthonys Campus, NUI, Galway, Galway, Ireland, (2) Centre for Nursing & Midwifery Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland, (3) Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland
Learning Objective #1: Deliberate on the meaning of health for older people with a disability
Learning Objective #2: Identify ways in which health needs of older people with a disability can be met.

·        The paper presents the findings of a research study carried out in Ireland in 2006 (Murphy et al., 2007) which explored perceptions of health held by older people with a disability.  The research adopted a grounded theory approach; purposive sampling was used initially with some relational sampling towards the latter interviews. The sample was comprised of 143 older people with one of six disabilities: stroke (n=20), arthritis (20), depression (20), sensory disability (20), a learning disability (24), and dementia (18) and twenty older people without a disability. All participants lived at home, some had very poor physical health while others had reasonably good levels of physical health. An interview schedule was used to guide interviews, all of which were tape recorded and transcribed. The constant comparative technique was used to analyze this qualitative data. Data were also collected using the SF36-v2. Older people without a disability, those with dementia and a learning disability all achieved scores of between 72-75 out of 100 on general health, while those with arthritis, stoke, and sensory disabilities achieved scores of between 51 and 61, indicating that general health of these groups was less good. The overall findings of the study in relation to perceptions of health would suggest that there was great diversity in perceptions of health and the importance attached to good health. Participants personal definition of health shifted relative to others and/or improvement or worsening of their capacity. As participants physical functioning declined they redefined health in terms of their abilities rather than absence of illness. Participant’s accounts revealed that health measured both subjectively and objectively mattered for quality of life and that disability impacted on health but it was also evident that perceptions of health changed with increasing physical disability.