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Barriers to and facilitators of rehabilitation services for people with physical disabilities: A systematic review


Background: As health care practitioners, it is important to have an understanding of the common barriers to and facilitators of the rehabilitation services we provide.
Objectives: This article aimed to review the relevant literature regarding barriers to and facilitators of rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.

Method: Articles for the period 1990–2010 using descriptors related to rehabilitation services, barriers, facilitators and the physically disabled population were retrieved for this review.

Results: A total of 19 article titles were identified from references of other articles but following application of the inclusion criteria selected for this review, only six articles were chosen. Five of these articles were qualitative studies and one was a quantitative study. Barriers and facilitators regarding rehabilitation services highlighted by participants in the studies included a perception that health professionals have a lack of understanding of rehabilitation for people with disabilities and there was a lack of information sharing from health professionals about the rehabilitation process. On the other hand some participants reported that health professionals demonstrated confidence in the disability and rehabilitation process during consultation and highlighted that their needs were met by the rehabilitation professionals.

Conclusion: Even though there were few studies highlighting the barriers to and facilitators of rehabilitation services, they highlighted that there are gaps in the process of rehabilitation services provided. It would be advisable for health professionals to take cognisance of the issues highlighted in this study in order to make rehabilitation services more effective.


Academic article





  • University of the Western Cape
  • SINTEF Digital / Health Research
  • University of Stellenbosch



Published in

African Journal of Disability







View this publication at Cristin