Rehabilitation Professionals and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Care: Results of a National Canadian Survey
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OBJECTIVE: To describe rehabilitation professionals' practices, knowledge and training, professional views, and service delivery issues for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (PHAs) in Canada. DESIGN: Nationwide cross-sectional postal survey. SETTING: Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Random sample (N=2105) of occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and physiatrists who had practiced in the past year. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Survey items on current practices, HIV knowledge and training, professional views on rehabilitation and HIV, and HIV rehabilitation service delivery issues. RESULTS: Seventy-four percent (1492/2006) of the traceable sample responded, 53% (n=1058) of whom yielded completed surveys. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents never knowingly had served an HIV-positive patient. Of this group, 27% indicated these were patients they would like to work with, 27% indicated they were unwilling, and 46% were unsure. The 39% who knowingly had served PHAs had served an average of 4 PHAs in the last year, and less than 25% of their HIV patients' rehabilitation issues were HIV-related. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the role rehabilitation professionals have to play in the care of PHAs, only a minority serves PHAs. Results of this survey show a potential gap between the documented rehabilitative needs of PHAs and services provided by the rehabilitation professional community.
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