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Qual Health Res. 2003 Nov;13(9):1189-204.

Life with an indwelling urinary catheter: the dialectic of stigma and acceptance.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Nursing, USA.


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenology was to describe and interpret the lived experience of long-term users of urinary catheters. Living with a urinary catheter involved a dialectical swing between acknowledgment that the catheter was "a part of me" and feelings of alienation and vulnerability when it was experienced as a stigma. Themes include Adjusting to embodied changes by perceiving the catheter as a "part of me," Shame and responding to shame by normalizing, and Embarrassment and coping with embarrassment by humor. Providers can minimize stigma related to the visibility of the catheter by coaching patients in strategies to manage going out of the home with a minimum of urine accidents or by helping develop ways to conceal the urine bag.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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