Introduction: The United Nations (UN) identified health as a basic human right, but, unfortunately, the evidence shows that people with disabilities (PWD) often have lower levels of health than the general population. This can be associated with problems in access to the services and programs. The aim of this study was to explore barriers of the health system to rehabilitation services for PWD in Iran.

Methods: This was a qualitative study conducted on 21 participants using semi-structured, in-depth interviews and content analysis from June 2014 to July 2015.  Data analysis was performed by MAXQDA version 10.

Results: “Barriers” were the most prominent challenge of people with disabilities that needed access to rehabilitation services. These barriers were categorized into eight concepts of deficiency in the system that provides rehabilitation services, defect of education, deficiency in detecting and screening of people with disability, defect of stewardship in rehabilitation, ignoring socio-cultural factors, accessibility hardships, lack of identification, and financial hardships in rehabilitation.

Conclusions: An efficient rehabilitation plan requires a common understanding, considering the long-term complications involved in addressing the barriers. Understanding the barriers of the health system to rehabilitation services requires comprehensive management that first should be familiar with all of PWD, providers, policy makers, and other beneficiaries. It also is necessary for policy makers to consider rehabilitation services as a main part of the health plan; especially, they must change their oversight of rehabilitation services and programs. Thus, policy makers should have need comprehensive management and recommended further research.


Keywords: barriers; health System; rehabilitation; people with disability
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