Facilitators and Barriers to Speech Intervention of Patients with Orofacial Cleft in the Philippines: A Qualitative Study

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Seminars in Speech and Language


Most individuals with orofacial cleft require various healthcare services, including speech therapy. However, Filipino patients constantly face challenges in availing these services due to limitations in the healthcare system of the Philippines. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of patients with orofacial cleft on the factors that may serve as facilitators and barriers to speech intervention. A descriptive phenomenological approach to qualitative research was used to obtain an in-depth understanding of the perceptions of these patients. Semistructured interviews were conducted through online video conferences or mobile phone calls. Twenty-one participants were interviewed, most of who were mothers (90%) of children with orofacial cleft. Ten themes were derived from the transcripts. Five were categorized as facilitators, while the rest were considered as barriers. Generally, the respondents showed positive attitudes toward orofacial cleft, were aware of the communication and swallowing issues of the patients, and actively sought services to address these issues. Most barriers to speech intervention resulted from limited access to quality healthcare services and information. These findings highlight the importance of considering patient perspectives in clinical care. Maximizing facilitators and addressing barriers may improve access to universal healthcare among Filipinos with orofacial cleft.

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