Original Research

Profiles of outpatient speech-language therapy audiology clients at a tertiary hospital in the Western Cape

Wendy Overett, Harsha Kathard
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 53, No 1 | a199 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v53i1.199 | © 2019 Wendy Overett, Harsha Kathard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 October 2016 | Published: 31 December 2006

About the author(s)

Wendy Overett, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Harsha Kathard, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Abstract

This study described trends in the demographic, diagnostic, and attendance variables of first-time clients who attended the Speech-Language Therapy and Audiology outpatient department (OPD) at a tertiary hospital in the Western Cape over a five-year period (1999-2003). A retrospective, descriptive survey was conducted and data were collected from hospital records. The data were coded, analysed descriptively and represented in tables, figures and graphs. The diagnostic categories of hearing loss and voice disorder made up the highest percentage of referrals. The largest percentages of clients were referred from the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department at the study hospital, followed by the education sector. Demographic trends indicated that the highest percentage of clients attending the OPD was in the age category of 7-12 years, that similar percentages of male and female clients attended the OPD, and that English was the language that a client was most likely to speak. Geographically, the highest percentage of clients attending the OPD was from the Klipfontein region. Attendance data revealed that approximately 70% of clients attended OPD appointments within a three-month time period and attended no more than two appointments. Percentage of appointments attended decreased with increasing numbers of scheduled appointments. Implications for research and service delivery are discussed.

Keywords

Speech-Language Therapy and Audiology services; healthcare; service delivery; client profiles; attendance

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