Participants’ experience of the Bishop Lavis Rehabilitation Centre stroke group
Thesis (MPhil (Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy. Centre for Rehabilitation Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Current emphasis for rehabilitation in South Africa remains on individual intervention within the move towards primary health care. Primary health care is the strategy that has been adopted by the South African department of health to bring access and equity in health care services. Even so, the burden of providing effective rehabilitative services with limited resources requires innovative strategies, such as the use of therapeutic groups, to address certain aspects of rehabilitation. These strategies must be proven effective. There is a paucity of literature detailing the uses of group therapy in physical rehabilitation, and particularly the use of interdisciplinary group work in stroke rehabilitation. Furthermore, evidence shows that stroke survivors feel ill equipped to return to their communities despite rehabilitation. Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in South Africa, and is a condition shown to benefit from rehabilitation. These factors led to the selection of the Bishop Lavis Rehabilitation Centre stroke group as the setting for this study, which aims to describe the range of experiences relating to attendance or non-attendance of those referred to this programme. This descriptive study, employing quantitative means (to describe the demographic details of the participants) and qualitative means (to describe the experiences of participants), was conducted with twenty participants. Data was collected by means of an administered questionnaire. Following that, a focus group discussion involving six participants was used to gather in-depth information. Quantitative data was analysed with the assistance of a statistician, utilising the computer program, Statistica. The Chi-Squared, Kruskal-Wallis and ANOVA tests were used, with p>0.05 showing statistical significance. Qualitative data was thematically analysed, whereby data was categorised by means of an inductive approach. The study population consisted of 20 participants, with an average age of 59 years, of whom 15 were female and five male. The stroke group provided meaning to participants on two levels. On a psychosocial level, the phenomena of universality (identifying with others in a similar position), development of socialising techniques, imparting information and cohesiveness emerged strongly. On the level of meaning related to stroke recovery, improvement in ability to execute activities of daily living, mobility and strength were most frequently mentioned. Transportation issues were most commonly mentioned as factors negatively influencing attendance. Staff attitude and activities of the programme were most often cited as positive factors. Given the positive response of study participants, and the programme’s ability to sustain intervention with limited resources, it was concluded that this programme has a valid place within stroke rehabilitation in Bishop Lavis. Recommendations in terms of the group programme included investigating methods of providing transportation, providing childcare facilities and expanding the content of educational sessions. Further recommendations were to maintain the positive attitude of staff and the current activities of the programme. Frequency of group outings should also be increased and compensatory strategies for inclement weather must be explored.