Persons with physical disabilities' experiences of rehabilitation services at community health centres in Cape Town
Matsika, Callista Kanganwiro
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According to the United Nations, more than half a billion people (about 650 million) worldwide are disabled. Disability can have a vast impact on both the individual and the family. Rehabilitation is therefore a fundamental need for the persons with disability to achieve functional independence and have an improved quality of life. To enhance the effectiveness of rehabilitation, it is important to seek clients perspectives of the rehabilitation services and to incorporate these perspectives into the planning and delivery of rehabilitation services. In areas where rehabilitation services are available in South Africa, minimal research has been done to explore the clients experiences regarding provision of these services. The aim of this study therefore was to explore the persons with physical disabilities experiences of the rehabilitation services they received at community health centres (CHCs) in the Cape Town Metro Health District. Data was collected using a mixed methods design in the form of a sequential exploratory strategy. Qualitative data collection was done using in-depth interviews and this was followed by administration of an interview questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed using results from the in-depth interviews together with information from literature. Ten persons with physical isabilities, who had received rehabilitation services at participated in the in-depth interviews and 95 responded to the interview questionnaire. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim and they were analysed using predetermined themes. The SPSS version 16.0 was used to analyse the quantitative data which was presented in frequencies, medians, quartiles and percentages. The results of the study revealed that the participants experienced problems with getting transport to travel to the community health centres and getting adequate information from the service providers particularly information regarding disability and support services available for them. Experiences regarding participants involvement in their rehabilitation were generally positive. Generally, the participants reported positive experiences regarding their interaction with service providers and family support and involvement and this study recommends the staff to maintain their standards regarding these two dimensions of rehabilitation. However most of the participants were not concerned about whether the service providers gave them an opportunity to express their preferences or not. The results indicate the need to improve transport services for persons with physical disabilities and to give them more information regarding support services. The service providers should also give the clients more opportunities to get involved in their rehabilitation and educate them about the benefits of them getting involved.