Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 1025-9848
An overwhelming challenge to health-care professionals today, is the rendering of care services to AIDS orphans. This article is based on a study that explored and described the lived experiences of AIDS orphans in a township in order to understand their 'life world' as AIDS orphans. A further purpose was to provide information to primary health-care nurses (PHCNs), related professionals and partners involved in the care of these children, so that they could plan a care response to meet the orphans' unique needs. A qualitative research design that used an explorative, descriptive, contextual and phenomenological strategy of inquiry was employed. Data were collected by means of in-depth interviews from a purposively selected sample, and were analysed according to the steps of qualitative data analysis proposed by Tesch (Creswell 1994). Guba's model was used to ensure the trustworthiness of the qualitative data. Two main themes and their sub-themes were identified. The first theme was that children experience devastating changes in their life circumstances when they become AIDS orphans. The second theme highlighted how the participants rediscovered hope to persevere. Recommendations directed at nursing practice, education and research, were made based upon the findings.