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Research Article  |   January 2009
Women With Disabilities’ Experiences in Long-Term Care: A Case for Social Justice
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Magasi, PhD, is Research Scientist, CORE at NorthShore University HealthSystem, and Research Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 1001 University Place, Suite 100, Evanston, IL 60201; smagasi@northshore.org
  • Joy Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Article Information
Ethics / Long-Term Care/Skilled Nursing Facilities / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Social Justice and Health Disparities
Research Article   |   January 2009
Women With Disabilities’ Experiences in Long-Term Care: A Case for Social Justice
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 35-45. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.35
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 35-45. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.35
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to explore women with disabilities’ perceptions of their lived experiences in nursing homes.

METHOD. This 16-month ethnography used multiple qualitative methods, including participant observations, thematic qualitative interviews, and focus groups, to examine the perceptions of life in nursing home for 6 women with disabilities who had returned to community living and their significant others (n = 13).

RESULTS. Nursing homes were living situations of last resort for women with disabilities. Life in the nursing home was characterized by lost choice, control, and occupational engagement; social isolation; social control; the political economy of the nursing home; and active resistance.

DISCUSSION. Occupational therapy practitioners practicing from a social justice paradigm have a responsibility to ensure that client goals to live in the least restrictive environments possible are realized. Implications for long-term-care referral practices, advocacy-based interventions, and partnership with the disability community are discussed.