Examining Health Care Access for Refugee Children and Families in the North Carolina Triangle Area.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Resettled refugees are at increased risk of poor health outcomes due to acculturation challenges, logistical barriers, experiences of trauma, and other barriers to care that are poorly understood. Refugee children may be particularly vulnerable due to disruptions in health, well-being, education, and nutrition during the resettlement process.METHOD To describe the health care barriers facing refugees in the North Carolina Triangle area (comprised of Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and their surrounding areas), we conducted three focus group interviews (in Arabic, French, and Swahili) with 25 refugee parents from Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Chad. We also administered a survey to nine organizations that provide services for refugees.RESULTS Focus group responses highlighted the multidimensional nature of health care barriers for refugee families and children, encompassing challenges with acculturation, communication, transportation, finances, and health literacy. Organizations emphasized similar challenges and described their efforts to improve access to services through increased communication, coordination, and seeking new financial support for programs.LIMITATIONS Given the geographic focus of the study, results may not be generalizable to other populations and settings. Men spoke more than women in some focus groups, and participants may have been influenced by more vocal contributors. Furthermore, this study is limited by a lack of health outcomes data.CONCLUSIONS This study suggests that the health care needs of refugees living in the North Carolina Triangle area can be better met by providing comprehensive, coordinated, and culturally relevant care. This could include minimizing the number of visits by integrating multiple services under one roof, providing trauma-informed interpreters, and offering accessible transportation services.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.18043/ncm.81.6.348

Publication Info

Hunter, Kelly, Brandon Knettel, Deborah Reisinger, Pranav Ganapathy, Tyler Lian, Jake Wong, Danielle Mayorga-Young, Ailing Zhou, et al. (2020). Examining Health Care Access for Refugee Children and Families in the North Carolina Triangle Area. North Carolina medical journal, 81(6). pp. 348–354. 10.18043/ncm.81.6.348 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21912.

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