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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

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

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.38 n.2 Pretoria  2008




Occupational Therapy and its potentially positive influence upon the CD4 count of individuals with HIV: A single case study



Robin JoubertI; Nasreen MotalaII; Nicole MottaIII; Chantal ChristopherIV

INat Dip OT (PTA), BA (UNISA), MOT (UDW), D.ED (UKZN); Academic Coordinator, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Therapeutic and Rehabilitative Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal
IIB.OT (UKZN); Occupational Therapist, King Edward Hospital
IIIThird year Occupational Therapy student (UKZN)
IVB.OT (UDW), NDT (Cert); Part-time Lecturer, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Therapeutic and Rehabilitative Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal





This article is a case study of a young woman in her early twenties in advanced stages of AIDS, who is on antiretroviral (ARV) medication and has a CD4 count of 51 that has remained static for the past six months. An intensive palliative occupational therapy programme has commenced twice weekly with emphasis on uplifting her mood and giving her a sense of control over and purpose in her life. Secondary aims included improving her endurance and independence.
Using a qualitative approach, her progress was chronologically evaluated from diagnosis, hospitalization to discharge, tracking changes in her mood and state of health. After commencing the mostly palliative OT programme her CD4 count increased significantly and her mood and general health improved such that this was repeatedly noted in her file and she was discharged 6 weeks later i.e. nearly 6 months after admission. Although this single case study cannot be considered conclusive evidence of the positive effects of OT on the CD4 count and health status of individuals in advanced stages of AIDS, it suggests further investigation of this potential.

Key words: CD4 Count, palliative programmes, case study



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Robin Joubert

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