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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


JEJELAYE, Anthony; MASEKO, Lebogang  and  FRANZSEN, Denise. Occupational therapy services and perception of integration of these at primary healthcare level in South Africa. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2019, vol.49, n.3, pp.46-53. ISSN 2310-3833.

BACKGROUND: Literature indicates that access to rehabilitation services in South Africa is limited. Recent policy documents by the National Department of Health related to disability and rehabilitation propose the integration of occupational therapy services in primary healthcare (PHC). However, the implementation strategies concerning integration are not clear as there is inadequate evidence locally on the occupational therapy service provision in PHC even though there is growing evidence internationally PURPOSE: This study sought to determine the services provided by occupational therapists in PHC and to explore the perceptions of the occupational therapists on the integration of occupational therapy services within the PHC reengineering streams of the National Health Insurance (NHI METHOD: A two-phase explanatory sequential mixed method strategy was utilised in this study. A quantitative survey was sent to members of the occupational therapy professional association and an organisation of professionals providing rehabilitation services in rural communities. Qualitative data were then collected using semi-structured interviews with five therapists who completed the survey FINDINGS: Findings from this study showed there is increasing alignment of occupational therapy services in PHC with the community-based rehabilitation (CBR), the Social Model, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), and the Medical Model using client self-management and case-management intervention approaches. The majority of occupational therapists are currently based in district hospitals (42%), community health centres (16%), community organisations (8%), and clinics (8%). Those working in the community indicated they work in a multidisciplinary team (MDT). They also use PHC service delivery models to manage people with disabilities (PWDs). Occupational therapists in PHC have a strong perception of their relevance in the PHC reengineering streams, despite the numerous barriers and few facilitators to the integration of occupational therapy services in the PHC reengineering streams of the NHI CONCLUSION: The perception of the study participants is that occupational therapy service integration in the PHC reengineering streams will lead to improved healthcare. However, they are also of the opinion that integration will not happen without advocacy from occupational therapists or occupational therapy being adequately supported in PHC

Keywords : Occupational therapy; primary health care re-engineering; integration; National Health Insurance; universal health coverage.

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