: Refugees, Health Management, and Cultural Influence

Refugees, Health Management, and Cultural Influence

Providing a seamless healing process remains a key function of the various healthcare centers. The provision of health in the U.S. has undergone various changes over the years. Healthcare forms a complex affair that is characterized by a great deal of things to do, watch and know. Key among these has been dealing with the diverse needs of the patients (Bednarz, Schim, & Doorenbos, 2010). The health needs of refugees present a critical area that health care personnel need to be wary.

Most of the refugees go through acculturation that forces them to adapt to the new culture while still trying to maintain their own cultural identity (Burnett & Peel, 2001). The refugees at Akron present individuals from different places and different cultures. The cultural differences of the refugees have greatly affected their individuals’ lifestyles and their health management practices (NEED REFERENCE(S) HERE). CAN YOU PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF LIFESTYLE AND HEALTH MANAGEMENT CHANGES HERE? Due to the cultural influence, a lack of effective communication has been experienced between the patients and the doctor (NEED REFERENCE(S) HERE). The rationale for this study will tend to focus on finding evidence of the cultural influence on health management of the refugees in Akron.

The international institute of Akron is a refugee center in the United States. The center is managed by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, & Migration as well as 10 other voluntary agencies. The center serves over 6,000 individuals who migrate to the U.S. and are deemed as refugees. In the center, counseling and immigration services are offered, communication programs, education and refugee resettlement. The center also includes health programs where health promotion and preventive measures are carried .

Health management of refugees presents varying needs and medical treatment procedures. In most of the cases, the medical treatment of refugees over the age of XX has been known to deteriorate due to not following the doctor’s instruction. The reason behind not following the doctor’s instruction has been attributed to their culture and not negligence. The cultural aspects of the refugee’s family dynamics and generational gap have made the treatment of refugees at times to be difficult (Purnell, 2013).

Health promotion has followed a cultural concept that frames how individuals shape and perceive their world and experiences (Goodridge, 2002). Culture helps in defining how healthcare providers and patients view health and illness. Culture also defines what the patients believe as the cause of the disease. For instance, some refugees may not be aware of the germ theory and believe illness as fate or punishment. The type of health promotion activities encouraged by a particular culture or the how they perceive pain also affects the treatment methods. Moreover, the degree of compliance or understanding of the treatment options offered by the health care providers who do not share their cultural beliefs may hinder their treatment (Goodridge, 2002). For instance, a patient may perceive a physician who does not give them an injection is not taking their illness serious and may decline the alternatives offered.

Culture also plays a key role on how diagnosis are accepted including when, how, and who should be told. It also affects the willingness of the patient in discussing their symptoms with the health care provider (Goodridge, 2002). The perceptions the patients profess such as views of death, youth and aging affects the health treatment methods. How accessible the health system is and the acceptance of health promotion measures such as vaccines, screening tests, birth control, are all dependent on the patient’s cultural views. Moreover, culture affects health through the mode of communication used, where in some culture making or avoiding eye contact is viewed as being polite or rude.

In addition, the cultural difference of the patients also includes the diverse religions or faiths that the patients ascribe to. The religious difference also poses a major barrier to the treatment of the patients (Fowler, 2012). For example, some faiths do not attribute to the use of modern medicine and this can be a major impediment to the treatment of the refugee. For this reason, dealing with people from different cultural and spiritual backgrounds calls for understanding and tolerating vagueness and uncertainty.

The book entitled “Through the Patient’s Eyes,” by Gerteis, Levitan, Daley, & Delbanco (1993) offers a look at the importance of offering emotional support to the patients. The authors of this book discuss the value of offering emotional assistance to patients from a different cultural background through the acknowledgment of the patient’s feelings, encouragement of expressing beliefs openly, expressing positive effect, offering tangible support, and offering them a sense of belonging. It is imperative that the health care providers treat the patients from different spiritual beliefs and cultural background with respect (Fowler, 2012).

Strategies for effective cross cultural communication need to be devised to deal with the diverse health needs of refugees. A lack of effective communication has been reported due to language and cultural background barrier of the refugees. Communicating with people from a different cultural background requires not only displaying respect but also paying attention to non verbal cues such as silence, eye contact, tone of voice and body language (Andrews & Boyle, 2008). It also requires the medical personnel to ask specific detailed questions and to learn to tolerate ambiguity due to their different cultural background.

 

 

References

Andrews, M., & Boyle, J. (2008). Transcultural concepts in nursing care. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Bednarz, H., Schim, S., & Doorenbos, A. (2010). Cultural diversity in nursing education: perils, pitfalls, and pearls. The Journal of nursing education, 49(5), 253-260.

Burnett, A., & Peel, M. (2001). Health needs of asylum seekers and refugees. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 322(7285), 544-547.

Fowler, M. (2012). Religion, religious ethics, and nursing. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Gerteis, M., Edgman Levitan, S., Daley, J., & Delbanco, T. (1993). Through the patient’s eyes: Understanding and promoting patient centered care. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Goodridge, E. (2002). Meeting the health needs of refugees and immigrants. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, 15(1), 20-2, 25-6.

Purnell, L. (2013). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

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