The impact of switching on family caregivers of children with cerebral palsy
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Purpose: This study aimed to enhance our knowledge and understanding of switching, as assistive technology, and how it impacts on family caregivers of children with cerebral palsy with GMFCS levels four or five. Methods: A qualitative method using a constructivist approach was adopted. Purposive sampling was used to recruit five caregivers to participants in this study. Framework analysis was applied to the data collection of semistructured interviews conducted with each caregiver. Findings: The three main themes identified were an investment in the future, resulting in joy and hope. The learning process of switching is resource intensive, time consuming and effortful for caregivers. If caregivers do not perceive this as an investment, then they may not experience the joy switching can bring to their child, and in turn the joy, hope, and caregiver satisfaction it can offer for the future. Conclusion: This research indicates that caregivers often have the greatest impact on whether switching will be adopted in the home. The greatest impact on caregivers is related to their perception on the competence of therapists and coordination of services provided. Implications for Rehabilitation Switching has the potential to increase caregiver satisfaction, decrease burden and provide hope for the future. Therapists need to guide family caregivers through the time consuming and resource intensive learning phase of switching. The greatest impact of assistive technology on caregivers is related to the competence of therapists and coordination of services provided.