Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder needs and experiences of parents/caregivers receiving services from a public sector hospital.
The focus of this study was the exploration of parents and caregivers experiences of raising children with ADHD and their experiences of services at a public sector hospital. There is a paucity of scholarly studies conducted on this topic in South Africa. The context of the study is the public sector hospital where the researcher is employed as a social worker. Through her interactions with the parents and caregivers of ADHD affected children she became aware of the challenges that they were exposed to and this prompted her to undertake the study. This was a qualitative study and a purposive sample was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 participants and one focus group was conducted as a method of triangulation, with six participants. This study was guided by two theoretical frameworks, namely the bio-psychosocial and ecosystems approaches. The main conclusions drawn from the findings of the study were that many participants experienced a lack of support from their families and from the hospital. Participants did not have sufficient knowledge of the comprehensive treatment plan available in the management of ADHD. Health care professionals failed to engage in mutual decision making with participants, related to ADHD treatment and they neglected to address the concerns of participants regarding their children. A further finding was that the referral process to allied health professionals was inconsistent. Participants also experienced difficulties with the hospital administrative processes. Based on the findings, the recommendations include the need for more comprehensive support which includes medical and psychosocial support for participants. The limited knowledge base of participants with regard to the nature, causes and the use of medication for ADHD should be addressed by the health care providers. This could be achieved through participant education on the disorder at the initial stages of diagnosis. ADHD should be managed in a more collaborative and co-ordinated manner at the health care facility through an actively interdependent team.