Evaluation of a rural community-based disability service in Queensland, Australia
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Introduction: 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. Method: 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. Results and Conclusions: 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.
Rural and Remote Health
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