The hambisela programme's effect on stress levels and quality of line of primary caregivers of children with cerebral palsy in Mamelodi: a pilot study

Van Aswegen, Tami
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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a lifelong complex disorder that places multiple burdens on the caregivers. Caregivers of children with CP have high stress levels and poor quality of life which could have a detrimental effect on their children. Addressing the parents’ needs is an important aspect when working with children with disabilities. Sixteen participants from Mamelodi, a township in South Africa, participated in a quasi-experimental pilot study over eight consecutive weeks. The aim of the study was to determine if an educational intervention, Hambisela, could reduce caregivers’ stress levels and improve their quality of life (QoL). Contributing factors such as parent’s age and educational level, and the child’s age and level of severity of CP were correlated to the caregivers stress levels and QoL. Participants completed the Parenting Stress Index – Short Form (PSI – SF), the Paediatric Quality of Life – Family Impact Module (PedsQLTM – FIM), a demographic questionnaire and the Gross Motor Function Classification System was used to assess the child’s level of severity. No significant differences were found in the participants stress levels (p=0.7) and QoL (p=0.9) before and after completing the programme. A moderate negative correlation (r=-0.5) was found between caregiver’s education level and stress and a moderate negative correlation (r=-0.5) was found between the caregiver’s age and QoL. An educational intervention alone, such as Hambisela, is not sufficient to reduce the stress of caregiver’s of children with CP, or to improve their QoL. Stress is a complex multifactorial construct. In a developing country such as South Africa, social and environmental stressors are significant factors which play a role in these caregivers’ lives. Holistic interventions addressing all factors contributing to stress, especially social development, ought to be designed for this population.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science. Johannesburg, 2016