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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Living with diabetes : the perspective of the Chinese elderly Lai, Magdalene Claudia


This study was designed to explore how Chinese elderly informants with diabetes experience and manage their illness at home. The method used in conducting this study was the phenomenological perspective of qualitative research. The Intent of the study was to understand the human experience of living with diabetes and the sociocultural context in which it is lived. Data collection and analysis ran concurrently. Data were collected through a series of interviews with nine Chinese informants who were diagnosed with late onset diabetes and were undergoing insulin treatment at home. Informants' ages ranged for a 69 to 90 years old. All informants are first generation immigrants in Canada. The specific questions that directed this study addressed the Chinese elderly informants' experience of living with diabetes, the meanings they assigned to living with diabetes, and the ways Chinese informants managed their diabetes. Theoretical sampling guided sample selection and determined sample size. The data were constructed based on a total of 21 interviews with the nine informants. As the researcher explored how the informants lived with diabetes, informants gave detailed accounts of how they viewed diabetes. Within the context of how they viewed diabetes, informants described an entire process they went through to make decisions in everyday life as they sought help and managed their illness. Based on informants' accounts, a decision making model was formulated. Informants gave detailed accounts of each step of the decision-making process, together with descriptions of meanings they assigned to each step. The data showed how informants made sense of their experience as they went through each phase of the decision-making process. The descriptions also revealed an "inner logic" used by informants to direct choices they make regarding health matters. In terms of nursing practice, these findings support the need to attend to client decision-making, from the clients' perspectives. The findings also address nurses' need to reevaluate their professional role in relation to clients' needs and expectations. With regard to nursing research, the findings suggest the need to further explore the topic of decision making from both the clients' and nurses' perspectives.

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