Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) Honours

School

School of Exercise and Health Sciences

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science.

First Advisor

Ms Kiah Evans

Second Advisor

Dr Sonya Girdler

Abstract

Parents caring for a child with a disability (PCCD) may experience adverse effects on quality of life (QOL) due to role demands, hence it is important to evaluate available support services. This paper aims to systematically review current research examining the impact of formally provided, parent-focused emotional or informational interventions on QOL for parents caring for a child with a disability or chronic condition. Procedures: Electronic searches of five databases (2001 – 2011) were conducted and reviewed against the study eligibility criteria. All levels of evidence were included, and studies were evaluated against standard quality assessment criteria by two reviewers. Principle Conclusions: A range of adequate quality studies were identified (qualitative and quantitative), and evidence suggests positive results for the utilisation of parent-focused interventions at improving parental QOL. Given the methodological limitations and small number of eligible studies included in the review, generalisability to the wider community is restricted.

In comparison to mothers from the general population, mothers caring for a child with a disability (MCCD) are faced with a long term caring role which must be balanced with other life roles. The overall aim of this research was to explore the perceived support needs of MCCD to successfully return to paid employment. A mixed methods approach was utilised, consisting of questionnaires and a semi structured interview. This study reports on the reasons for returning to work (RTW), the different barriers experienced in RTW, and the specific needs required to overcome these barriers. Finances, alternative care for children, skills and confidence, employment issues, perceived lack of services, and complex prioritisation of needs were the main themes explored. It was found that MCCD require individually tailored and dynamic supports to enable a return to work. Implications for future research and the occupational therapy profession are discussed.