The long-term concerns post cochlear implantation as experienced by parents/caregivers of prelingually deaf children between the ages of 3 and 5 years in Gauteng Province, South Africa
Background. Cochlear implantation aims to provide an effective means of spoken communication for prelingually deaf children. However, studies in this field are mostly clinically orientated, with little focus on the experiences and long-term concerns of families post cochlear implantation (CI).
Objective. To describe the long-term concerns post CI as experienced by parents/caregivers of prelingually deaf children between the ages of 3 and 5 years, and to determine the role of support groups with regard to effective intervention and coping post CI.
Methods. A phenomenological, non-experimental research design was conducted through semi-structured, indepth, one-on-one interviews with five parents/caregivers.
Results. Caregivers reported concerns with changes in family support, financial difficulties, poor communication, and schooling and vocational prospects for their children.
Conclusion. The findings of this study highlight a need for continued support for parents and families with children who have been fitted with cochlear implants. This should be through the use of a family systems perspective model that takes into account the impact on the quality of life of families with children who have a hearing loss or who are fitted with cochlear implants. There is a need for a contextualised longitudinal study where, based on previous observations and experiences, parents/caregivers are reminded about the continual long-term expenses associated with CI. This includes maintenance costs, hospital visits and school placement when the children reach school-going age