Original Research

Clinical attendance rate at a tertiary adult audiological service in South Africa

Mubina Khan, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amanda B. Thusi, Ruhee Hoosain, Sadna Balton
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 70, No 1 | a967 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v70i1.967 | © 2023 Mubina Khan, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amanda B. Thusi, Ruhee Hoosain, Sadna Balton | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2023 | Published: 14 November 2023

About the author(s)

Mubina Khan, Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Speech Therapy and Audiology, Johannesburg, South Africa
Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Amanda B. Thusi, Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Speech Therapy and Audiology, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ruhee Hoosain, Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Speech Therapy and Audiology, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sadna Balton, Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Speech Therapy and Audiology, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Clinical non-attendance to audiological appointments may negatively affect early diagnosis and intervention as well as treatment outcomes for adults with hearing impairments.

Objectives: This study aimed to explore the attendance rate and factors influencing attendance and non-attendance at an adult audiology diagnostic clinic at a tertiary hospital in Gauteng, South Africa.

Method: A mixed-methods research design, utilising structured questionnaires and a retrospective record review was adopted. A total of 31 adult patients at a diagnostic audiology clinic were interviewed.

Results: Findings revealed an attendance rate of 47.62%, with 52.38% rate failure to return for follow-up appointments. Key reasons for attendance included understanding the need for appointments (57%), staff attitudes (42%) and appointment reminders (17%), and those for non-attendance included multiple appointments (33%), work commitments (28%), transport (8%) and forgetting about the appointment (8%). Six reasons for non-attendance were prominent in the current study: having multiple appointments (33%), work commitments (28%), forgetting the appointment (8%), transport difficulties (8%), attitudes and/or perceptions of the healthcare system (4%) and sequelae of hearing impairment (8%).

Conclusion: This study reinforces previous research findings while highlighting that health literacy and Batho Pele (people first) ethos by staff positively influence attendance.

Contribution: Current findings contribute towards contextually relevant evidence on the attendance rate in this sector for ear and hearing care, as well as additional insights into factors influencing this within the South African context. This information is crucial for clinical services provision planning as well as for policy formulation around resource allocation in the public healthcare sector.


Keywords

attendance rate; diagnostic audiology; clinic non-attendance; early intervention; South Africa

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