Rehabilitation needs in individuals with knee OA in rural Western Cape, South Africa: an exploratory qualitative study
Primary Health Care Research and Development
Background: Current clinical practice guidelines have suggested that each individual with knee osteoarthritis (OA) should receive three core treatments from their health care provider. These core treatments comprise of exercise, education and weight loss. Identification of the health care and rehabilitation needs of individuals with knee OA in rural areas are imperative for focusing service delivery in a specific context in order to empower the individual. The aim of this study was to explore
... dy was to explore the rehabilitation needs of individuals with knee OA living in rural Western Cape in order to identify the gaps in services offered and inform rehabilitation programmes in these settings. Methods: Semi-structured in-depth individual interviews were performed on 16 individuals with knee OA living in rural settings of the Western Cape, South Africa. A deductive data analysis approach was used and the needs of the individuals were identified and categorised for interpretation and comparison with the reported services received. Findings: The three major themes identified were 'I would like to know more', 'There's not much support from the clinic' and 'I don't feel myself anymore'. These themes relate to the lack of disease-specific education, barriers in the health systems and service delivery resulting in individuals lack of self-worth and poor mental wellbeing. The results revealed the integral relationship between health care systems, service delivery and the effect on patient wellbeing. Conclusion: The rehabilitation needs of individuals with knee OA in rural areas advocates for addressing barriers in rural primary health care system such as adequate human resources, referral systems and continuity of care. This will allow for a comprehensive, person-centred and context-specific multidisciplinary approach focused on empowering individuals with knee OA through disease-specific education, improving functional participation and symptom management strategies. This could improve the social inclusion and mental wellbeing of individuals living with knee OA.