Barriers to Healthcare Access for Clients from Various Cultures

Barriers to Healthcare Access for Clients from Various Cultures

  1. Assess and include trans-cultural beliefs including language, religious practices, socioeconomic status, end-of-life practices, dietary preferences, risky behaviors.

Globalization has made it easy for movement and settlement of persons in different geographical areas. On the same note, cultural integration has grown, especially in the US as many people settle in the country. Cultural differences lead to a number of barriers that that affect access to healthcare. Some of these barriers may include language, religious practices and the dietary practices. For the Iraqi refugees in the United States, cultural barrier takes the form of language and other mode of communication. Having come from different cultural background, the US healthcare provides a challenge in-terms of communication with the health providers and care givers. To the Iraqi refugees, the US healthcare system is complex in nature, making it difficult for them in case of healthcare issue (Soltani, Takian, Sari, Majdzadeh, & Kamali, 2017). Willingness to comply with the healthcare provider and the system is a factor of the cultural attitude on healthcare. Misunderstandings between the patient and the doctors out of cultural differences affects the access to the healthcare.

Religion plays a role when it comes to how most of the refugees approach healthcare in the US. For instance, to the Iraqi’s, religion influences the manner in which they perceive healthcare. To them, God is the healer who designs the life to be what it is. Some patients may also fail to follow the healthcare requirements out of religious beliefs (Soltani, Takian, Sari, Majdzadeh, & Kamali, 2017). The influence of spirituality on healthcare is a factor needs more studies. Some studies already recognize the influence spirituality have on health matters. Therefore, religion is one of the healthcare behaviors that influence access to the healthcare.

  1. Healthcare behaviors

The traditional therapies may fail to work on the patients affected by cultural behaviors and attitude. Misunderstandings and cultural attitude to the methods in place are major barriers to the clients from various cultural backgrounds. One of the factors that influence healthcare behaviors within the immigrants is religion. Religious understanding on each medical condition will ensure the patient seeks for the medical attention or not. In such cases, the healthcare providers should embrace non-traditional therapies that seek to integrate the cultural aspects of treatment.

To the refugees, their traditional lifestyle still determines how they approach healthcare. According to the Iraqi refugees, their cultural lifestyle has various ways of dealing with health issues. Therefore, they opt for their traditional therapies and medicines before the conventional health systems. Many of the people resolve to use some of the cultural options instead of relying on the modern US health system. For some time, healthcare did not support some of the traditional alternatives to the modern medical provision; however, studies have shown that such methods could help in solving medical cases.

  1. Challenges and barriers to healthcare and outcomes related to these challenges

Language barrier is a major factor that affects communication between the patient and the caregiver. In most cases, the doctor requires consent before going ahead to administer medication. For the immigrant Iraqi patients who are predominantly non-English speaking, a translator will be needed in order for doctor to receive vital information. A doctor requires historical information of the patient that may be compromised without proper communication with the patient. Without proper communication, the doctor is likely to administer the wrong medicine to the patient.

Cultural backgrounds of the immigrant patients can interfere with proper access to healthcare. Each culture interprets healthcare practices differently. Therefore, a patient is likely to choose some healthcare practices while ignoring some as dictated by the cultural background. The cultural views on values and ethics on healthcare practices will impact of the clinical practices by the healthcare providers. Mistrust between the minorities and the healthcare providers is another barrier that can affect treatment. In the past, clinical trials have been done on the minorities without their consent, leading to the mistrust on the healthcare provision. Proper healthcare provision requires good communication and socialization.

  1. An evidence-based plan that can be used to improve healthcare outcomes and access to healthcare (including use of IT systems, interdisciplinary members)

In order to overcome the barriers listed above, the US healthcare system must be designed in a way that includes all cultural backgrounds (Foutz, Cohen, & Cook, 2016). The integration of the cultural perspectives with the western medicine stands to provide proper information for the minority patients from non-English speaking cultures. On the same note, the system should have all languages incorporated within the system to make easier for the non-English speakers. The language and the cultural practices within the system will provide accurate information for both the patient and the provider. Such a system requires an integrated Informational Technology (IT) system that provides real time interaction between the provider and the patient.

Integrating cultural aspects in healthcare will help come up with a program that takes care of the cultural beliefs of the patient. For instance, the Chinese healthcare should integrate the use of traditional herbs alongside body and mind exercises. According to them, the bodily sickness is a symptom of the deeper mental or psychological problem. Therefore, healthcare outcomes can improve when the western medicine takes into account the various traditional and cultural aspects of treatment (Foutz, Cohen, & Cook, 2016). For the patients from the eastern part of the world, healthcare must involve treatment and therapeutics practices that seeks harmony of the body and mind.

 

References

Foutz, J., Cohen, S., & Cook, S. K. (2016). Challenges and barriers to health care and overall

health in older residents of Alaska: evidence from a national survey. International Journal of Circumpolar Health.75: 10.3402/ijch.v75.30348.

Soltani, S., Takian, A. Sari, A., Majdzadeh, R., & Kamali, M. (2017). Cultural barriers in access

to healthcare services for people with disability in Iran: A qualitative study. Medical Journal of Islamic Republic of Iran 31: 51.