Structural barriers to South African volunteer home-based caregivers providing quality care: the need for a policy for caregivers not affiliated to primary healthcare clinics
Community home-based care (CHBC) is a critical component of non-formal care in communities in Africa that have a high prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Community carers consisting primarily of volunteers are critical role players in African healthcare systems and particularly in South Africa’s strategy to fight HIV and AIDS. This paper explores the structural barriers volunteer caregivers need to overcome to provide quality CHBC. The researchers used two focus group discussions with key informants (each with four participants), and semi-structured interviews with six key informants to collect data relating to the meaning of quality CHBC. The data were coded using Tesch’s data analysis technique. A major theme that emerged from the results was “Addressing structural challenges to improve the quality of CHBC”. Subthemes underpinning this theme were: 1) lack of standardised training of volunteer caregivers; 2) the need for a scope of practice, parameters and legal boundaries; 3) lack of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of CHBC; and 4) the importance of mentoring and supervision in CHBC. CHBC policy should address the need for standardised training programmes for caregivers, so that they are equipped with multiple skills. Furthermore CHBC policy must emphasise mentoring as well as M&E to encourage quality care. Finally, the policy should provide a clear scope of practice for caregivers to regulate their competencies and boundaries.
Keywords: community home-based care, HIV/AIDS, mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, non-profit organisations, scope of practice