UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring immigrant families' perspectives as they access and utilize healthcare services Tully, Kimberley


Many health care professionals may be unaware of the range and nature of issues that immigrant families who have a child with a disability or chronic health condition (CHC) must address. Anyone may face challenges accessing and utilizing healthcare services or supports. However, barriers facing immigrant families may be varied and multifaceted and be compounded by concurrent challenges of establishing a life in their new home. In addition the perceptions of disability among immigrant groups can have a profound influence on how these families care for their child who has complex care needs. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore what barriers exist for immigrant families as they attempt to access and utilize healthcare services or supports to manage their child’s complex healthcare needs. Data gathered in this study through indepth interviews with 10 caregiving parents of 13 children with complex chronic health conditions, builds upon the limited knowledge and literature that exists about immigrant families’ access and use of the healthcare system for their child with a disability or CHC. The analysis identified key concepts that characterize the experiences of these families. Selected interview vignettes demonstrated the following processes: a desire for a better life and healthcare; experiences with accessing services and the families’ desire for autonomy and independence. With further reflection and interpretation of the data two specific concepts emerged: creating a future and personhood. These concepts served to provide a deeper understanding of immigrant families’ lives. It is hoped this information will further inform professionals’ practice as they collaborate with the families to meet the children’s needs, plan care and strive to achieve good health outcomes for the children while also promoting wellbeing within the family unit.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International