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Facilitating refugees’ access to family doctors

Maureen Mayhew (School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Karen J. Grant (Department of Education, Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver, Canada)
Lorena Mota (School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Setareh Rouhani (School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Michael C. Klein (Family Practice/Paediatrics Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Arminée Kazanjian (School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the patient level characteristics of government-assisted refugees (GARs) who had acquired family doctors after leaving specialized refugee clinics (RC).

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional telephone survey of GARs households, three to six years after arrival to British Columbia, that used logistic regression to identify GAR characteristics associated with having a family doctor compared to having no family doctor or remaining at a RC.

Findings

Contact rate was 52 percent. Of 177 interviewed GARs who spoke 24 languages, only 61 percent had secured a family doctor. Only 57 percent were educated; 46 percent spoke English and 40 percent worked consistently. Central Asian or African origin was associated with having a family doctor (OR 10.6 (95 percent CI 3.1-36.8) for RC; OR 10.3 (95 percent CI 2.2-47.8) for no family doctor). Other significant characteristics in the comparison with GARs at a RC included English proficiency (OR 15.6 (95 percent CI 4.3-56.9)), and female sex (OR 4.0 (95 percent CI 1.4-1.1)). When compared to those with no family doctor, additional significant characteristics included Health Authority A compared to B (OR 8.9, 95 percent CI 1.4-55.6) and having recently visited a doctor (OR 7.7 (95 percent CI 1.9-30.7)).

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study are limited to a specific environment and the low contact rate may have resulted in bias.

Originality/value

This study described characteristics of GARs who had successfully transitioned to a family doctor and those who had not. This population is rarely captured in studies because they are difficult to contact, ethnically diverse and not proficient in English.

Keywords

Citation

Mayhew, M., Grant, K.J., Mota, L., Rouhani, S., Klein, M.C. and Kazanjian, A. (2015), "Facilitating refugees’ access to family doctors", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-12-2013-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited