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Balancing on a Wire: Self-care among Thai Immigrants in Washington D.C.
Praboromarajchanok Institute for Health Workforce Development, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.
Praboromarajchanok Institute for Health Workforce Development, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.
Red Cross University College of Nursing. Mälardalen University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0335-3472
2012 (English)In: Journal of Health Science, ISSN 0858-4923, Vol. 21, no 3, 423-435 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This qualitative study focused on the experiences of Thai immigrants settling in the District of Columbia, Washington D.C.. Data included indepth interviews in February - June 2005. The results suggest that most immigrants did not have health insurance. This posed the question how they coped when they developed an illness? The results showed they relied on self-care practices such as buying drug, using traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture, visiting a Thai doctor, and having medicine sent from Thailand. Hospital-based care was sought only in severe illness. Without health insurance, they were forced to pay for their treatment in instalments. The Thai immigrants’ experiences with the US health care system were often positive. For example they felt the doctor-patient relationship was often very good. The doctor provided more information to patients than those in Thailand, such as explaining the cause of their illness, laboratory result, treatment, and practice. They also felt that in the US patients could share their opinion with the doctors, who allowed more time to communicate with patients and that patient records were well managed. The health personnel were also rated highly and as friendly and providing good patient care. The participants felt the worst parts of the US health system were 1) doctors could not make decisions for their patients; 2) the cost of health care in the US was too high. Recommendations emerging from the study include: 1) Thai immigrants, agencies of the Thai Government and some Thai organizations, such as temples, should share their resources, for example: 1) to establish foundations for emergency case; 2) to strengthen health education and information among Thai Immigrants; 3) to encourage Thai people living abroad to form a stronger network so they can access important health-related information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Thailand: Ministry of Public Health , 2012. Vol. 21, no 3, 423-435 p.
Keyword [en]
Thai immigrants, health, illness, health insurance, life experiences, US health care system
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-473OAI: oai:DiVA.org:rkh-473DiVA: diva2:573806
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-11-19 Last updated: 2017-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, Henrik

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CiteExportLink to record
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