There are several reasons given by patients in delaying health care treatment. A majority of patients cite that their primary reason in delaying treatment is their inability to perceive that they have a serious condition or illness. Others also cite barriers such as financial incapacity as another major reason. In one study, it was found out that 20% of citizens who typically delay healthcare consultations are African-Americans, have no insurance coverage and are below the socio-economic pole (Epstein et al 1991).
Delay in healthcare are oftentimes experienced by the minority populations and migrant groups as they experience communication barriers and have tendencies to consult lay healers instead of medical professionals As the United States evolves towards a period marked by multiculturalism, the health care delivery system is profoundly affected. It is important that health care providers establish rapport and earn the trust of their clients. Migrant groups and minority populations are especially sensitive and have different cultural norms and values.
The use of first names during the initial visit should be used with caution so as to avoid alienating the client. Oftentimes, the health care provider is viewed as a rude person due to the mode of questioning as these cultural groups often dislike direct questions. All individuals, regardless of their culture and nationality, also have different beliefs and prioritizations. Thus, it is necessary to gather information as the individual may have different views regarding his condition or illness. He may be contemplating whether to prioritize his needs versus that of the whole family and may look at his condition in a different light.
Health care professionals and providers thus need to focus first on the patient and evaluate their needs, competencies and level of understanding. Individuals must be encouraged to express their feelings regarding their current condition and asked to evaluate their current standing so as to initiate self-realization and comprehension. Providers should refrain from pressing their own views on the client as this will only serve to instill negative feelings. Instead, providers of care should try to place themselves in their clients’ positions so as to better understand their views and their way of thinking.
Immigrants tend to delay in seeking first aid or any treatment in a health care facility and will only seek medical help once the problem has been greatly aggravated already. Immigrants also tend to have problems in communication with health care providers, thus, seeking medical aid or treatment is a great ordeal for them, and one which they would rather avoid. There is a need, therefore, to instill cultural awareness among providers of health care so as to maintain the efficient provision and delivery of health care services.
Health care providers need to have the competencies to address the needs of a culturally diverse nation so as to decrease the disparities in health care that are prevalent nowadays in the country. Primary assessment is equally important so that the needs of the client are addressed and so that the plan of care that will be carried out are in accord to their own health beliefs and points of view. Health care providers must also learn to provide basic information regarding health promotion and disease prevention at a language that is easily understandable by the client.
Family members must be encouraged to work towards a certain goal in achieving optimal health and should be allowed to make their own informed decisions regarding the management of their condition. With all these steps taken into consideration, the disparities that exist today in healthcare may be decreased. References: Betancourt, J. , Green, A. & Carrillo, J. E. (2002). “Cultural competence in health care: emerging frameworks and practical approaches” Field Report. Epstein, A et al (1991). “Delayed access to health care: risk factors, reasons, and consequences” Annals of Internal Medicine. American College of Physicians.