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Aims

The aims of this study were to explore and understand the perspectives of children with an obstetric brachial plexus injury (OBPI) regarding functioning and health, and to create an overview of problems and difficulties that patients encounter in daily life.

Method

We conducted a focus group study with 48 children (25 male, 23 female), aged 8 to 18 years, with an OBPI. Eleven open-ended questions regarding problems or difficulties in daily life were asked in group sessions with 4 to 7 children within the same age range. These group sessions were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. All problems and difficulties mentioned in each focus group were linked to corresponding categories of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health – Children & Youth Version (ICF-CY).

Results

Eight focus groups were conducted. A total of 143 unique ICF-CY categories were identified. Of these categories, 61 (43%) were related to the ICF-CY component ‘activities and participation’, 31 (22%) were related to ‘body functions’, 29 (20%) were related to ‘environmental factors’, and 22 (15%) were related to ‘body structures’.

Interpretation

This study shows that children with OBPI experience difficulties in all areas of functioning, as well as in both environmental and personal factors.