The health mediators-qualified interpreters contributing to health care quality among Romanian Roma patients

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (4):843-856 (2013)
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Abstract

In order to assure optimal care of patients with chronic illnesses, it is necessary to take into account the cultural factors that may influence health-related behaviors, health practices, and health-seeking behavior. Despite the increasing number of Romanian Roma, research regarding their beliefs and practices related to healthcare is rather poor. The aim of this paper is to present empirical evidence of specificities in the practice of healthcare among Romanian Roma patients and their caregivers. Using a qualitative exploratory descriptive design, this study is based on data gathered through three focus groups with 30 health mediators in the counties of Iasi and Cluj (Romania). We identified various barriers to access to healthcare for Roma patients: lack of financial resources and health insurance coverage, lack of cognitive resources or lack of personal hygiene, but also important cultural issues, such as the shame of being ill, family function, disclosure of disease-related information, patient’s autonomy, attitudes towards illness and health practices, that should be considered in order to create a culturally sensitive environment in Romanian medical facilities:… The role of the health mediators within the context of cultural diversity is also discussed, as cultural brokers contributing to health care quality among Romanian Roma patients Bridging cultural differences may improve patient–healthcare provider relationships, but may have limited impact in reducing ethnic disparities, unless coupled with efforts of Roma communities to get involved in creating and implementing health policies.

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