Experiences of Adults Living with Cerebral Palsy in Accra Ghana

Keywords: life expectancy;, cerebral palsy;, phenomenological;, adulthood;, colaizzi method;


Background: Cerebral palsy is a neurologic condition resulting from brain injury that occurs before cerebral development is complete. The life expectancy of children with cerebral palsy is increasing rapidly and most live into adulthood. The transition to adulthood, together with the change in roles and responsibilities, have been identified as challenges for young adults with cerebral palsy. These include health care, education, employment, independent living, and community engagement. However, there is a gap in understanding the experiences, perceptions, and needs of individuals with cerebral palsy as they transition toward adulthood. This studyTo explore the life experiences of adults living with cerebral palsy. Methods: A phenomenological qualitative study was carried out involving 6 participants recruited from the La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal District, Osu Klottey and La Dade Kotopon Municipal District in the Accra Metropolis. Semi – structured interviews were conducted with each participant, after which the interviews were transcribed and analysed using the Colaizzi method. Results: Two main themes emerged: the ‘realisation of self’ and ‘developing coping strategies to deal with living with cerebral palsy. Under the first theme, four sub-themes emerged: making sense of the condition, feeling of belongingness, self-pity and constraints from people because of the condition. The second theme generated two sub-themes: internal coping mechanisms or behaviour and external coping mechanisms. Conclusion: Adults living with cerebral palsy face different problems compared to children living with the same condition. Adults with cerebral palsy are aware and have more understanding of their condition. They have a good perception of societal attitudes towards them and also are able to develop their peculiar means of dealing with it. The study suggests the necessity to enhance support of adults living with cerebral palsy and enhance their integration into the community-based adult care from paediatric care.