To determine healthcare utilization issues for low-income Hispanic immigrants who have both excess weight and chronic pain.
Community health workers conducted at-home interviews with 101 middle-aged and older Mexican Americans (aged 40-79 years, M=52.1±8.8) associated with a community agency in southern California to evaluate healthcare underutilization and reported reasons for not using medical or pharmaceutical care.
Almost all participants (91 percent) reported having received at least some medical care in the year preceding the study interview. However, at some point during the prior year, 62 percent had not seen a doctor when it was needed and 45 percent had not taken a prescribed medication. While the primary reason for underutilization was financial, communication, and trust reasons were also reported.
Although cross-sectional and geographically restricted, this study lays the foundation for additional research on reasons for underutilization of recommended healthcare and lack of pain management in low-income Hispanic immigrants who are overweight and have chronic pain.
Policy implications include the urgent need for health insurance.
Implications for providers include the need for accurate pain assessment and better communication about medication to prevent non-adherence in this population.
The current study highlights the existence of healthcare underutilization among overweight and obese Mexican Americans with chronic pain and identifies specific barriers to care, care seeking, and pain management.
This study was partly funded by the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, Grant #1H75DP001814-02. Funds paid for data collection for the study.
N. Rutledge, D., Rakovski, C. and Zettel-Watson, L. (2012), "Healthcare underutilization in overweight Mexican Americans with chronic pain", Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 123-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/EIHSC-10-2012-0010
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