Healthcare Communication Barriers and Poor Health among Filipino, Hmong and Korean American Older Adults
Objective: This study examined the associations between healthcare communication barriers and perceived “poor” health status among Asian American older adults.
Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional survey data from a sample of 677 Asian Americans (163 Filipino, 284 Hmong, and 230 Korean), aged 50 to 75. Healthcare communication barriers assessed included: Limited English proficiency (LEP: spoke English less than “well”), medical interpreter needed at least “sometimes,” and low health literacy (LHL: “often or always” needing help to read materials from their doctor or pharmacy). Self-rated “poor” health was defined by a rating of “fair” or “poor” for perceived general health. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted.
Results: Participants’ mean age was 61.4 years, including 22% males, 52% non-high school graduates, and 99% immigrants. Many Asian American older adults reported healthcare communication barriers: 79% had LEP, 41% needed medical interpretation, and 42% had LHL. Poor health was reported by 42% of the sample. Those with LEP (OR=2.1, 95%CI: 1.1-4.2) and those with LHL (OR=2.1, 95%CI: 1.1-4.1) were more likely to report poor health, but not those who use a medical interpreter. These associations were independent of other significant correlates of poor health: non-employment, being uninsured, having had a recent medical visit, or having chronic health conditions. Ethnicity, gender, length of US residency and BMI were not associated with self-rated poor health.
Conclusion: LEP and LHL were related but distinct communication barriers that have independent associations with poor health. Developing services to meet the particular communication needs of LEP or LHL Filipino, Hmong and Korean older adults, is strongly indicated for health promotion in these populations.
Learning Areas:Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research
List at least one healthcare communication barrier experience by the Asian American older adults. Describe factors related to self-rated poor health among the Asian American older adults.
Keyword(s): Asian Americans, Health Literacy