Experiences of nurses who care for patients with severe/profound intellectual disabilities at a level 3 Psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape.
Mgandela, Sibongile Princess S.P.
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The study explores the experiences of nurses who care for severe/profound intellectual disabled patients at Level 3 Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Town. People with severe intellectual disabilities require constant care and supervision which can only be provided in specialised units. In the Western Cape, one such facility is a special section for the intellectually disabled at a level three hospital. Intellectual disability is a serious lifelong disability that places a heavy burden on affected individuals. Caring for these patients may affect the individuals who work within the intellectual disability services. This study explores the experiences of nurses who care for these patients. A Phenomenological research design was chosen as the researcher identified it as the most appropriate method to describe the lived experiences of the nurses. Purposive sampling was used to select 10 participants. However, data saturation was reached after interviewing eight participants. Data was collected through in-depth unstructured interviews. The audio-taped responses were transcribed verbatim and phenomenological data analysis done. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Higher Degrees Committee of the University of the Western Cape. Permission to do the research at the level three hospitals was sought from the Associated Psychiatric Hospital Committee. Consent to participate in the study was obtained from the participants, and ethical principles were adhered to. Participants were informed of the right to withdraw at any stage of the study and intervention offered when required. Trustworthiness of the research process was ensured. Findings: from this study the nurses who care for severe/profound intellectual disabled patients reported that they were not adequately prepared to care for these patients. It has also been reported that caring for the severely/profound disabled comes with some consequences, where emotional (negative and positive), physical and professional consequences were mentioned. The shortage of resources was found to be one of the challenges the nurses experienced. The nurses felt unappreciated for the work they did and less supported by their employer.