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Evaluation of a rural community-based disability service in Queensland, Australia

Evaluation of a rural community-based disability service in Queensland, Australia

Rural and Remote Health 3(1): 186

The article outlines the evaluation framework devised for a semi-formal disability service project in central Queensland, Australia, which was implemented using a community-based, participatory model. Utilising a service framework known as Community-Based Rehabilitation and an implementation strategy adapted from Participatory Rural Appraisal, this model is presented as a potential alternative for rehabilitation and disability services in the light of concerns that such services are poorly tailored and inadequate in remote and rural areas of Australia. In recognition of the difficulty of evaluating such participatory and community-based initiatives, this evaluation was based on the analysis of large amounts of qualitative data from multiple sources, which were categorised against key themes drawn from the literature, using a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). It is suggested that this innovative and multifaceted evaluation methodology may have broader application. Findings of the service evaluation indicated positive informal, community and social outcomes. Formal structural and organisational outcomes were found to be limited with a possibility of compromising the long-term viability of the initiative. Suggestions are made regarding the process of implementing similar research initiatives. The model may have application in similar rural community-based initiatives internationally.

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Accession: 048993958

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PMID: 15877495

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