Experiences of caregivers of children with spastic cerebral palsy regarding splinting in Uganda
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Splinting is one of the many strategies used globally for managing neuromuscular impairments related to cerebral palsy. In Uganda, some children with cerebral palsy who have been provided with splints return to the physiotherapy department with contractures or deformities. A qualitative research methodological approach was used to understand and describe the experiences of caregivers of children with cerebral palsy regarding splinting in Uganda. The theoretical framework used was the bio-psychosocial model of disability. Purposive sampling was used to select 24 caregivers of children with spastic cerebral palsy who received splints in 2010 at two research settings in Uganda. In-depth interviews were conducted with all the participants at their homes using an interview guide. The data collected was transcribed verbatim and translated from Luganda to English. Inductive content analysis was used to analyse the data. Six themes concerning experiences emerged, namely: caregivers‟ expectations and beliefs; acquisition of splints; knowledge and skills; attitudes to splinting; compliance and benefits of splinting. The results of this study show the overwhelming challenges caregivers face while their children require splinting. When considering providing splints to children, the results highlight the need, to take into account the personal (child) factors, the splint characteristics and the environmental (family and community) factors. There is a need to provide information on splints to both the children with cerebral palsy and their caregivers.