185305 Healthcare patterns among immigrant, Spanish-speaking Latinas: The role of the public health nurse in providing culturally responsive healthcare

Monday, October 27, 2008: 1:10 PM

Blanca Angelica Gonzalez, BA, RN , School of Public Health, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY
Blanca M. Ramos, PhD, CSW , University at Albany School of Social Welfare, Center for the Elimination of Minority health Disparities (NIH-NCMHD # 5RDMD001120), Albany, NY
Eileen Bush , School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselear, NY
The number of U.S. Latinos continues to grow rapidly as does the breadth of health disparities they experience. A current emphasis on immigration status as a determinant to healthcare perpetuates isolation, poor health status, and high rates of chronic illness and disability for this already at-risk subpopulation. From a holistic approach to nursing practice, Public Health nurses can play a pivotal role in providing an inclusive and culturally appropriate response to this social crisis by increasing their understanding of healthcare patterns among Latinos. This study explored patterns of healthcare in a convenience sample of 26 community dwelling Latinas. Structured interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. Participants were foreign born, ages 30-58, of low SES, and primarily Spanish-speaking. Results indicate the presence of chronic conditions asthma (79%), type II diabetes (47%), gastrointestinal (44%), and heart disease (21%). The use of alternative medicine (98%), particularly herbal remedies was prevalent. Cost, transportation, language, and distrust of medical personnel were identified as barriers to formal healthcare. Research that focuses on the use of alternative medicine and barriers to formal healthcare among Latinas can inform Public Health Nurses in the development and implementation of culturally responsive health education programs and interventions for Latinas regardless of immigration status. This could be a step forward toward the ultimate goal of eliminating health disparities for Latinas and, thus, exemplifying public health care without borders.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this presentation participants will be able to 1. Identify barriers to formal healthcare among immigrant Spanish-speaking Latinas 2. Recognize the use of alternative medicine among immigrant Spanish-speaking Latinas 3. Discuss the role of a public health nurse in providing culturally responsive healthcare education and services

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted and developed this survey
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.