Preferred Types of Menopause Service Delivery: A Qualitative Study of Menopausal Women’s Perceptions

Preferred Types of Menopause Service Delivery: A Qualitative Study of Menopausal Women’s Perceptions

Abbey Hyde (University College Dublin, Ireland), Jean Nee (University College Dublin, Ireland), Michelle Butler (University College Dublin, Ireland), Jonathan Drennan (University College Dublin, Ireland) and Etaoine Howlett (University College Cork, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jhdri.2011010101


This article analyses what a sample of women experiencing menopause say they would like in terms of a quality menopause health service. Thirty-nine women who defined themselves as currently or recently menopausal were interviewed in depth, and data were analysed using a qualitative strategy known as thematic networks analysis. In terms of the structure of a menopause service, the dominant picture emerging was that women wanted an integrative menopause service where General Practitioners would act as a gateway to both biomedical treatments and complementary and alternative medicine. In addition, participants recommended that practitioners be knowledgeable about the wider (psychosocial) issues associated with menopause, and well versed in a range of therapies. In terms of process issues, participants wanted a service where their experiences were listened to and taken seriously. Given the tension between biomedicine and complementary and alternative medicine over the status of knowledge and diverse approaches to what counts as evidence about whether or not a therapy works, at least some aspects of what participants want from a menopause service may be very difficult to realise.
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Research in a range of contexts in the industrially-developed world has found that while a considerable proportion of women visit their doctors with menopause symptoms (Hvas, Thorsen, & Søndergaard, 2003; Fanagan, Burns, & Nally, 2008), a substantial proportion have at some stage used Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to manage such symptoms (Brett & Keenan, 2007; van der Sluijs et al., 2007). Whilst this research provides indirect evidence of the type of menopause health services that might appeal to women, in this article, we focus directly on the kind of menopause services recommended by women based on the accounts of participants of an Irish study. In particular, we concentrate on what women say they want from menopause services, and what shape they believe that a good menopause service might take. In the discussion section, we consider the complexity of key aspects of what women would like in light of political debates about different types of healing.

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