Challenges Faced by Grandparents in Caring for AIDS Orphans in Koster, South Africa

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 3:35 PM

Deliwe Rene Phetlhu, PhD
Department of Nursing Science, North-West University, Mmabatho, South Africa

Learning Objective 1: understand the dynamics of the identified problems in a specific context and compare within the global arena

Learning Objective 2: use knowledge gained to establish collaboration with researchers to develop interventions that could improve the well-being of grandparents and AIDS orphans and influence health policies

Purpose: To explore and describe the challenges faced by grandparents in caring for AIDS orphans and the coping mechanisms used to deal with them.

Methods: The maslow’s theory of human needs was used as a theoretical framework that ground this study. A qualitative research approach using exploratory and descriptive design was used. Grandparents caring for AIDS orphans and linked to specific Non Governmental Organizations were purposively selected. Interviews were conducted with those who volunteered to participate until data saturation was achieved. Data was analyzed and interpreted using Tesch model. Ethical principles were adhered to and rigor maintained throughout the study process.

Results: Different dimensions of challenges were identified which included the physical and biophysical, socio-economic and psychosocial and emotional aspects such as overcrowding due to orphans being adopted, orphans’ illness and grandparents’ own physical illnesses. Participants reported that the challenges elicited emotional responses such as frustration, shame and hopelessness. The need for government assistance with supply of food to take care of the orphans was raised. In the wake of the challenges the support from relatives, employers and home based workers assisted the grandparents to cope. In addition the grandparents reported that they sourced for odd jobs to augment their salaries and depended on cheap and old goods to maintain the AIDS orphans

Conclusion: Grandparents in this geographic area struggle to take care of AIDS orphans but feels duty bound to continue despite the many challenges that they encounter. Negative emotions are experiences which results in frustration and mostly feeling of helplessness. However the support from other and additional salary often lessen the burden. It is however important that nurses as the first point of contact for most of these grandparents assist by referring them to the correct officials and departments during the first encounter and alert the policy makers of this reality.