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Assessment of Palliative Care Needs of HIV-positive Clients in a Teaching Hospital in South-eastern Nigeria

Iheme, Uchenna, Prof. Anarado, a. N. , Nigeria

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a world-wide epidemic but has disproportionately affected developing countries negatively. Despite the positive impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV-positive clients do experience various needs that require palliative care. In Nigeria, palliative care is still an emerging service not readily accessible, and under-studied. This study assessed the palliative care needs of out-patient HIV-positive clients in a teaching hospital in Southeastern Nigeria. Using a survey design, a sample of 387 clients was purposively drawn from a population of 4119 confirmed HIV-positive adult clients on ART. Palliative Care Need Assessment Scale (PNAS) was used for data collection. Data were analyzed using percentages, mean scores for Likert scaled items with decision rule at ?2.5 for significant needs, MANOVA and MANCOVA at significant level of p. ? 0.05. Respondents scored less than the decision mean (<2.5). Female clients reported significantly more psychological problems (P =. 0.02), Low CD4 cell count (<200cells/mm3) was inversely proportional to more physical, psychological and socio-cultural needs. Female gender interaction with low CD4, first line of ART and less than 6 months duration of management were inversely proportional to more problems in the physical and psychological domains. Respondents' self-assessed palliative care need is low. However, female clients with low CD4 cell count, on first line of ART and less than 6 months duration of management experience significant un-met palliative care needs. This vulnerable group should receive priority attention to meet their palliative care needs.

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