Date of Conferral
Following spinal cord injury (SCI), bladder management is of primary importance. As an activity of daily living (ADL), it affects community integration and quality of life (QOL). Women with SCI have neurogenic bladders that require self-catheterization, but they are unable to catheterize the native urethra, thus making bladder management physically and emotionally challenging. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of women with SCI who undergo urinary diversion surgery for bladder management. Qualitative data were collected using semistructured interviews from 10 women with SCI after urinary diversion surgery for bladder management. Qualitative Nvivo analysis of interview data was based on cognitive adaptation theory, which emphasizes adaptation to life-threatening events. Analysis showed improved quality of life among these 10 women, with improvements in independence, convenience, aesthetics, confidence, and sexuality. The women's lived experiences also showed enhanced privacy, dignity, normalcy, and safety. The lack of awareness in health care workers to offer this procedure was universally highlighted by participants. The social change implications include the need to advocate for women with SCI with bladder management needs who are unaware of this surgery option. Understanding the bladder management needs of women with SCI may help this population make choices for a better quality of life.