Lesbian and bisexual women's experiences of health care: "Do not say, 'husband', say, 'spouse'".J Clin Nurs. 2020 Jan; 29(1-2):94-106.JC
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
To describe the experiences and wishes of lesbian and bisexual women concerning health care in Finland.
Sexual orientation is a personal aspect of identity and also an important aspect of holistic health care. Lesbian and bisexual women have unmet health needs. The way that healthcare personnel encounter lesbian and bisexual women affects whether they disclose their sexual orientation.
Qualitative inductive survey.
The research data for this study were collected in spring 2018 using an electronic survey (n = 22). The data were analysed using inductive content analysis. The research report has been checked using COREQ checklist, see Appendix S1.
The research data were divided into two main domains: experiences and wishes. Women described health care as being heteronormative. They had both good and bad experiences, and their own poor experiences and those of others had a negative impact on their utilisation of healthcare services. Women had apprehensions about encountering stereotyping in health care and did not always disclose their orientation, even though recognising it would be integral to the provision of holistic health care. Lesbian and bisexual women wished that health care would refrain from heteronormativity, acknowledge issues that were important to them and engage with them without any prejudgement. They also wished healthcare environments would be improved to reflect an open acceptance of sexual minorities and also co-operate with sexual minority organisations.
Women had conflicting experiences. Heteronormativity was seen as an obstacle for holistic health care. Women hoped health care would collaborate with the third sector.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE
Sexual diversity should be acknowledged and better communicated to patients. Women hoped personnel would have the understanding to treat them in the same professional way as any other patients, but with expertise specific to their needs, for example in sexual health guidance.