“It All Goes Back to the Services”: A Rural/Urban Comparison of Service Providers’ Perceptions of Challenges and Facilitators to Disability Services

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Open Journal of Preventive Medicine




The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore rural/urban differences in service providers’ perceptions of challenges and facilitators to services for children with special health care needs (CSHN) and their families in southeast Georgia.

Methodology: A total of 23 individual interviews were conducted with service providers in one rural county in southeast Georgia (N = 12) and in one urban county in north central Georgia (N = 11). Interviews were based on the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs 2009-2010 survey. All interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and coded with the intent of identifying themes and illustrative quotes.

Findings: Service providers discussed a variety of challenges to accessing services related to socioeconomic status and the transition out of the school system. Urban and rural service providers’ perceptions were similar overall, with the exception of lack of transportation and access to a variety of services in rural area. Service providers overcome challenges through identifying parents’ needs and limitations and adapting service provision. Some of the facilitators mentioned by both urban and rural service providers are availability of transportation and resources.

Practical Implications: The results of this study provide public health practice and policy implications that could guide the pathways of targeted interventions to improve the access and availability of variety of services for CSHCN.

Originality/value of paper: This paper represents an in-depth exploration of service provider’s perceptions of challenges and facilitators related to service provision for children with special healthcare needs.


Copyright © 2015 Alfonso, M., Walker, A., Gupta, A. Telfair, A., Colquitt, G. and Scientific Research Publishing Inc. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY). Article obtained from the Open Journal of Preventative Medicine.