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Malawi Medical Journal
College of Medicine, University of Malawi and Medical Association of Malawi
ISSN: 1995-7262
Vol. 27, No. 1, 2015, pp. 25-28
Bioline Code: mm15007
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Malawi Medical Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2015, pp. 25-28

 en Factors contributing to defaulting scheduled therapy sessions by caregivers of children with congenital disabilities
Nota, A.; Chikwanha, T. M.; January, J. & Dangarembizi, N.


Background Defaulting scheduled rehabilitation therapy may result in increased adverse outcomes such as permanent disability and increased healthcare costs. Concomitantly, there is evidence to suggest that early and continued rehabilitation of children with congenital disabilities can improve outcomes significantly. This study was conducted to determine factors contributing to caregivers’ defaulting scheduled rehabilitation therapy sessions.
Methods A descriptive cross sectional study was carried out at Chitungwiza Central Hospital, a tertiary facility offering in and outpatient rehabilitation services in Zimbabwe. Caregivers of children who had congenital disabilities (N=40) and who had a history of defaulting treatment but were available during the data collection period responded to an interviewer administered questionnaire. Data were analysed for means and frequencies using STATA 13.
Results Factors that contributed to caregivers defaulting scheduled therapy included economic constraints (52%), child related factors (43%), caregiver related factors (42%), service centred factors (30%) and psychosocial factors (58%). Majority of the caregivers (98%) were motivated to attend therapy by observable improvements in their children. Other motivators were incentives given in the rehabilitation department (45%), availability of rehabilitation personnel to provide the required services (48%) and psychosocial support from fellow caregivers, families and the rehabilitation staff (68%). Although all the caregivers could not distinguish occupational therapy from physiotherapy services they all reported that therapy was important.
Conclusions A combination of psychosocial, economic, child centred and service centred factors contributed to caregivers defaulting scheduled therapy. Interventions that may potentially improve caregiver attendance to scheduled therapy include community outreach services, efficient rehabilitation service provision at the hospitals, and facilitation of income generating programmes for caregivers.

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