The Experience of Being Grounded: A Phenomenological Study of Living with a Wheelchair

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The purpose of this existential-phenomenological study was to investigate the experience of being in a wheelchair. It was a prelude to a pilot study examining the effect of “seated” Tai Chi.


An interpretive research group was used as were direct quotations to support the analysis. The interview question was as follows: “please describe specific experiences you have had in your wheelchair that stand out for you.”


The interrelated themes were (a) humiliation, (b) frustration, (c) loss, and (d) humility, arising from a ground of self as disabled and time.


The accommodations from the ADA Act have greatly facilitated the independence for those who are disabled, yet many obstacles remain.

Clinical Relevance

People using wheelchairs experience the same health problems as the able-bodied and are thus found in all areas of nursing practice.

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