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Psychosocial rehabilitation in a chronic care hospital in South Africa: views of clinical staff

AL Pillay
AL Kramers-Olen


Objective: The study was based at a South African hospital providing inpatient care for people with chronic mental disorders, and aimed at investigating the multidisciplinary team (MDT) members’ views, understanding and attitudes towards psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR).

Method: A survey method was used, with the MDT members completing a questionnaire that tapped, inter alia, their understanding of PSR, perceived aims and goals of PSR, adequacy of their professional training to  implement PSR, availability of resources to implement PSR, and their views of chronic mentally ill patients, including their functional skills, needs and prognosis.

Results: Of 114 respondents, 19.3% felt they had sufficient knowledge of PSR practice, 53.5% reported that their professional training included teaching on PSR, 90.4% wanted to undertake further training in PSR, 64.9% believed that the hospital environment lends itself to PSR, and 23.7% felt the hospital had sufficient resources to perform PSR. Most (93%) believed that patients with chronic mental disorders can improve their functioning, and 65.8% thought that such patients could make decisions for themselves.

Conclusion: It is not surprising that most of the clinical staff in this investigation do not feel sufficiently equipped to perform PSR interventions, considering that past mental health policies and training failed to emphasize this component of mental health care. The need for training programmes to address this deficit is evident.

Keywords: Psychosocial rehabilitation; Mental disorder; Mental illness; Ppsychosis; Mental health