Challenges impacting functional recovery experienced by Mental Health Care Users with Major Depressive Disorder after a short-term admission to hospital

Patricia Ann De Witt, Nadia Roestorff-Hambrock, Fasloen Adams, Denise Franzsen


Introduction: Major Depressive Disorder often has a chronic course. Mental Health Care Users (MHCUs) with this diagnosis report experiencing challenges with the transition to their home and in resuming their previous activities of daily living or their functional recovery after a short-term admission to hospital. This research aimed to explore these challenges which these MHCUs perceived had contributed to their re-admission within a six-month period.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was used to explore these challenges. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with eleven participants and analysed thematically.

Results: Data analysis generated two themes: ‘Inability to fully benefit from the therapeutic programme’ and ‘Life was not what I expected it to be after discharge’. Participants reported struggling to participate fully in the occupational therapy programme during admission and with the abrupt transition from hospital to home. They reported challenges in implementing changes that they had committed to in hospital and a lack of support from significant others. The greatest challenge reported by participants was in the social participation category of occupation and their experiencing extreme loneliness and isolation after discharge.

Conclusion: The unresolved challenges experienced by participants during hospitalisation and after discharge were perceived to be detrimental to their functional recovery.

Keywords: Major Depressive Disorder, challenges, readmission, functional recovery

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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