University of Cape Town: Expanding person-centered care in South Africa

By Clint McLean

This interview is part of our Global Partner Series which highlights members of the Person-Centered Hearing Network (PCHN). The collaborative network of 30 partners works to improve hearing care in person-centered ways.

Our fifth interview in the series is with Vera Hlayisi from the University of Cape Town’s Department of Audiology. Hlayisi is a researcher, lecturer, and PhD candidate. Her thesis investigates the need to incorporate person-centered care (PCC) in audiology curriculum and clinical practice. 

We're talking to Hlayisi about how she and her fellow educators are making hearing care person-centered, some exciting projects they are working on, and her hearing care hopes for the future.

How do you and your colleagues work towards making hearing care more person-centered?

In our theoretical and clinical teaching, PCC is a key content area that we hope will lead to future hearing-healthcare practitioners that see, hear, and value the person before their symptoms. Specifically, within audiological rehabilitation courses, some of the resources we use are the Ida Learning Hall courses Understanding the Elements of PCC, Tinnitus Management, and Living Well.

What three words would you use to describe your program?

Coastal. Engaging. Diverse.

Tell us about a project you’re working on that excites you.

We are excited about some of the research on, and related to, PCC that we are busy with.

Some of the topics include: the preferences and influencing factors of South African graduate audiologists’ orientation towards patient-centered care, South African patients’ perceptions of person-centered care in audiology, exploring the understanding and implementation of person-centered care in South African audiology curriculums and clinical practices.

Why did the audiology program at the University of Cape Town join the Person-Centered Hearing Network?

The audiology program, as part of the Faculty of Health Sciences, aims to produce clinicians that are guided by research evidence and over the last decade or so, there has been ample evidence pointing towards PCC.

And having been involved with the Ida Institute before, joining the PCHN presented an opportunity to work together with like-minded colleagues globally towards the same goal. 

What do you see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for hearing care in the next decade?

Technology in hearing healthcare continues to show ample opportunities for growth in the field. Also, Covid-19 created circumstances that forced us to consider how technology can be a solution in many of the areas for both clinicians and patients.

One of the greatest challenges may be the attitudes of some of those in the hearing care industry. There needs to be more learning and adapting based on what is demanded by the ever-changing field and patient needs.

In one sentence, what is your ideal vision of hearing care in the future?

An inclusive and responsive field for all.

Would you like to get involved with the Ida Institute's work in South Africa, alongside people such as Vera Hlayisi? Then join the Ida Instisute South Africa Chapter Facebook group. All welcome!