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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of women using a self help clinic Steele, Darlene Shirley

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gather information about the women who used a Self Help clinic for their gynecological health care needs. The information gathered included demographic data about the women and information about the women's responses to their health care, including their feelings about the Self Help health care experiences. The study was conducted using questionnaires and interviews. Sixty-one women completed the questionnaires; of these, six women were interviewed. The data collected during the interview corresponded to the information on the questionnaires. The data were analysed by computation of frequency of responses and calculation of percentages. The data on the open-ended questions were grouped into categories which arose from the comments of the respondents. The text was written using a narrative, descriptive format. The results from the study were divided into two areas: demographic data and the women's responses to their health care and Self Help experiences. The demographic data show that a typical woman's profile is as follows: the woman is between the ages of 25-29 years, single, lives in a communal/cooperative housing set-up, is a professional or technical white collar worker, has a university education, comes from an upper-middle class family. The data regarding the women's responses to their health care and Self Help experiences indicated that women have many health needs which are unmet in the traditional medical care system. Some of these needs were met in the Self Help clinic experience. The data indicated the areas of the Self Help experience which women particularly felt suited their needs or which they liked. They are as follows: 1. Women liked the personal attention and interest they received at the Self Help Clinic. 2. Women liked the opportunity to learn about their bodies, their health care, and to be able to ask questions of the lay health care workers. 3. Women liked the concept of Self Help which encourages people to be in contact with their bodies, to be informed and to make decisions about their health care. 4. Women wanted to learn preventative health care. They wanted to know how to give themselves basic intelligent gynecological health care. 5. Women liked receiving their health care from other women. They liked the exchanges and sharing which emerged from a peer relationship with the lay health care workers. 6. Women liked the open, honest attitude of the lay health care workers. They appreciated being dealt with in an empathetic, supportive and responsible manner. 7. Women enjoyed receiving their health care in a warm, relaxed end comfortable atmosphere. The data from the study suggested areas for further study. The main one was that a similar study be done with a random sample selection and a larger population. This would broaden the data base.

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