Physiotherapy rehabilitation in the context of HIV and disability in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of people living with HIV (PLHIV) who had undergone a physiotherapy-led rehabilitation programme, with the aim of informing and improving future rehabilitation.
Methods: The study population included patients living with HIV who were referred for physiotherapy rehabilitation at a public-funded KwaZulu-Natal hospital. Eight participants were considered for final analysis in the study. A qualitative research design was adopted using in-depth interviews to explore their experiences of their rehabilitation programme. Additionally all eligible participants were requested to complete the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule.
Results: Participants presented varying activity-related challenges with mobility, self-care and life activities being the most severely affected areas. Participants showed little understanding of their health conditions, prescribed medication and in some cases therapy. HIV and disability impacted their daily lives, adversely affecting work and domestic activities. Although participants reflected positively on the rehabilitation experience they faced a number of barriers to accessing continued rehabilitation. Conclusion: PLHIV who experience disability are affected in major life areas but the current model of delivering rehabilitation provides a number of barriers to patients. A more accessible approach of delivering HIV-care and rehabilitation needs to be developed.