Physiotherapy rehabilitation in the context of HIV and disability in KwaZulu-Natal.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus who underwent a physiotherapy rehabilitation programme, with the aim of informing and improving future physiotherapy rehabilitation interventions. Methodology: Design: A qualitative research design was adopted, using the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health as a guiding framework. Population: All adult HIV positive patients who were referred for physiotherapy rehabilitation at a public-funded South African hospital during the course of a five week clinical block. Sample: Fourteen participants were eligible for the study. Eight of these participants, who were able to attend the post-rehabilitation interview, were considered for final analysis in the study. Study setting: A public-funded hospital within the eThekwini district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Research procedure: All eligible participants were requested to complete a questionnaire, the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule, prior to commencing a physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. After the period of rehabilitation, participants were interviewed using 14 open-ended questions designed to explore their experiences of this programme. Results: The questionnaire data described the participants’ demographics and illustrated the varying cognitive and physical challenges faced by these eight individuals. Content analysis of the eight interviews revealed the following themes: the participants’ knowledge of their health conditions and their prescribed medication, the impact of their illness on their impairments, activities and participation in their daily lives, the context in which these factors exist, the participants’ experience of physiotherapy rehabilitation and the barriers they faced in accessing continued rehabilitation. Conclusion: While participants reported mostly positive experiences related to physiotherapy rehabilitation, they face a number of barriers that limit their access to continued rehabilitation. It is hoped that the results of this study will assist in informing the development of future physiotherapy interventions, which are better designed to suit the needs of PLHIV in a South African public health context.